French hot-shots Monaco have staked their claim on the quarter-final spot in the Champions League with a strong performance against Manchester City and will be highly keen to step up their efforts and prove their current flying form is no coincidence despite the 5-3 defeat in the first leg with the Citizens.
Monaco can surprise City
The Principality club have gone through a lot of changes over the past 12 months or so thanks to a major transformation that took their big-spenders’ image and turned it into a team which invests in youth, talent and hot prospects. Indeed, Leonardo Jardim has a highly skilled squad at his disposal and a couple of young gems which went on to demonstrate their full potential over the past year. One such example is Kylian Mbappe, the 18-year-old forward who has been making huge waves with his performances this season. Goal-scorer in the first leg at the Etihad, the French prospect has scored nine goals in his last eight appearances for Monaco across all competitions and is expected to lead the way once again on Wednesday night. Monaco are keeping their hopes high despite the 5-3 defeat in the first leg and rightly so as they truly are a side capable of scoring more than three goals per game, which has been demonstrated on a number of occasions this season.
Radamel Falcao has picked up a knock over the weekend, but is expected to be fit to feature. Guido Carrillo and Gabriel Boschilla are unavailable through injuries, whereas Kamil Glik is suspended for the occasion.
Citizens on the run
Pep Guardiola seems to have finally found a formula that works as Manchester City are currently enjoying the 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions. The Citizens are displaying some rather entertaining football – which was also the case in the first leg of the Champions League Last-16 against Monaco – and we should be in for another openly-contested match in which Manchester City are not expected to drop back and protect their lead. The Premier League club have improved their defensive record a bit over the past three games as they have gone 270 minutes without conceding, but their shaky defenses will be put to a strong test at Stade Louis II. Manchester City are eager to make a step forward in their European exploits, but will still have to be carefull and cautious since their away form in Europe has not been that impressive of late. The Citizens managed to win just two of their last eight matches on the road which gives them enough reason to worry ahead of the Wednesday’s match.
Ilkay Gundogan, Vincent Kompany and Gabriel Jesus remain the three long-term injuries, but Pep Guardiola is happy to report there are no fresh injury and availability concerns.
High-flying Monaco have impressed throughout the season thus far both on the domestic front and in Europe and we are prepared to back them up to surprise Manchester City in what is expected to be a highly entertaining game. It will hardly match the standard set by the 5-3 first-leg clash, but it nevertheless is likely to be an interesting game and a highly-competitive affair.
Top pick: Monaco 2.63 (13/8) @Bet365
Alternative Pick 1: Monaco not to lose 1.55 (6/11) @188Bet
Alternative pick 2: Monaco Draw no Bet 1.95 (19/20) @WilliamHill