5 talking points ahead of Monaco v Manchester City

14 March 2017 12:23

Manchester City face Monaco in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, holding a 5-3 aggregate lead following their first encounter.

Here, we look at some talking points ahead of the game.

Repeat of the first-leg spectacle?

The first leg was a thrilling end-to-end encounter which could have gone either way before a burst of three goals in 11 minutes swung it in City's favour. Neutrals would undoubtedly love to see another open spectacle as these two attack-minded sides meet again. With City boss Pep Guardiola having already said his side's best form of defence against the Ligue 1 leaders is to get on the front foot, that might just happen.

Falcao v Stones

After disappointing spells at Manchester United and Chelsea, Radamel Falcao proved to an English audience in the first leg what a formidable proposition he can be. The Colombian scored twice, including a sublime lob over Willy Caballero, and missed a penalty. He gave City defender John Stones a particularly tough time and the Englishman may not be relishing the match-up. Monaco, however, are waiting on news of Falcao's fitness after he suffered a hip injury at the weekend.

Containing Monaco

Even if Falcao fails to prove his fitness, Monaco have a side brimming with talent that can trouble City - as they have already proved. The principality outfit has scored 123 goals in all competitions this season and their loss at the Etihad Stadium was their only reverse in 17 games since before Christmas. Several of Monaco's players, including Fabinho, Bernardo Silva, Kylian Mbappe, Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy, have been linked with big-money moves to some of Europe's top clubs.

City's form

After the inconsistencies of the autumn and early winter, City have hit form in the last two months, going 11 games unbeaten since a humbling 4-0 loss at Everton in January. Key to their run has been the form of the dependable Yaya Toure in midfield, with playmaker David Silva pulling the strings and the pace and trickery of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling out wide causing problems. Added to that has been the goal output of Sergio Aguero, who has been rejuvenated since a recent spell out of the side. Confidence should be high.

City's selection

City fielded a strong side for their FA Cup quarter-final win at Middlesbrough on Saturday but it seems unlikely Fernandinho would not be restored for a game of this magnitude, given the Brazilian's importance to the team. Should Fernandinho return, one of the attacking players from the Riverside Stadium may have to make way. It seems unlikely that would be Sane, Sterling or Silva but Kevin De Bruyne, purely because of his recent form in relation to others, or Aguero, who has had little rest recently, could drop out. Another option could be to bring him in for Toure, but again that seems unlikely.

Source: PA