Manchester City travel to Monaco tonight in hope of progressing to the Champions league quarter final for the second consecutive season.
After a thrilling first leg tie at the Etihad, Monaco are looking to overcome a 5-3 deficit on a night which could be hugely affected by a Manchester City own goal which Pep Guardiola has said his team a “very aware of this”.
It was clear prior to the first leg that goals would be the key to this game. Monaco are the highest goal scores in Europe’s top five divisions with 81league goals (123 in all competitions) and Guardiola’s new look City side have come under a lot of scrutiny due to their lack of defensive quality. This is despite spending £50 million on John Stones in the Summer.
Regardless it’s clear City’s attacking quality has the ability to drag them out of a trouble as it did in the first leg, dramatically coming from 2-1 and 3-2 down to win 5-3 in a Champions League game that will live long in the memory of many Mancunians.
As for team news Monaco are without attacking midfielder Boschilia and forward Guido Carillo. It is expected that first leg goal scorers Radamel Falcao and 18 year old wonder kid Kylian Mbappe will lead the line for Monaco. This is something Pep Guardiola will have to be very wary of after the destruction shown in the first leg and throughout the season.
For City the only two noticeable absentees are Gabriel Jesus (foot) and Ilkay Gundogen (knee). A huge boost for Pep’s men could be the return of Captain Vincent Kompany for the first time since November. It is also expected for Willy Caballero to regain his number one slot after Claudio Bravo returned to the side in a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola told The Telegraph yesterday it would be a “huge mistake” to go there and try and defend their first leg lead.
Despite this season’s heavy criticism on Guardiola’s defensive tactics, he went on to say “Monaco are able to score from many different ways. The best way is to score goals, take the ball and attack as much as possible, it’s the only way to beat a team like this.”
If this game is anything like the first leg and Guardiola sticks to his words of needing to attack then it should be a spectacle. Monaco must win 2-0, 3-1 or 4-2 to progress to the quarters, a game which could be heavily influenced by a Manchester City away goal.