A look through the record books will show that these two teams have never met before but Monaco can boast an unbeaten record in England with games against Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United. Let’s not forgot Manchester City made it to the semi-finals last year, going out by a single over two legs to Real Madrid, but it wasn’t enough for Manuel Pellegrini to keep his job. Up steps Pep Guardiola trying to guide Manchester City to their second European success, the last in 1970.
(Form check: WWWWD – All Competitions)
Manchester City scraped through qualifying this year, winning 2 out of their 6 group games. Of course the big result was beating Barcelona 3-1 at home but that result looks a little less impressive now. Supporters were off their seats for the most part with 21 goals coming in those games, but conceding so many (9) really does make you doubt if this team is able to challenge the best.
Bookies have priced it up fairly for Manchester City to keep the clean sheet at 31/20 (with Coral – Bet Here!) where as I’d be looking at the value in both teams to score, currently 4/6 (with Paddypower – Bet Here!). The blues were also rather reckless in the tackle, gaining 10 yellows and 2 red cards. This game will no doubt be played in a tighter fashion; still the bookies are being generous offering 2/1 - John Stones and 9/4 – Fernandinho being booked (with BetVictor – Bet Here!)
The line up should be similar to those in recent weeks, Leroy Sane playing very well on the right, Raheem Sterling on the left and Sergio Aguero through the middle. You really feel like a goal must come for the Argentinean and I’m going for the London buses rule, two may come at once! Sergio Aguero to score 2 or more at 18/5 – with William Hill – Bet Here!
At the back Pep Guardiola will have everyone guessing again, Stones and Otamendi must play but who will join them at RB & LB is unknown. What we do know is that Willy Caballero or Claudio Bravo will be between the sticks, neither giving the back line confidence in their abilities.
(Form check: WWWWD - All Competitions)
Monaco come into this game with great confidence having enjoyed a fine campaign so far, topping Ligue 1. Whether it’s the return of Radamel Falcao or the emergence of some key talent they really look a team who can cause some damage on their day, so much so they dispatched Tottenham Hotspur twice before Christmas.
Goals have been flowing from all angles for Les Rouge et Blanc (The Red and Whites), Falcao the main contributor on 16 (all competitions) but a fine 38 coming from midfield (all competitions). With this in mind I’m definitely highlighting the anytime goal scorer market due to the enhanced odds being provided, why not go for: Bernardo Silva at 9/2 (with Bet365 – Bet Here!) or Guido Carrillo at 16/5 (with Paddy Power – Bet Here!)
There are a couple of players to look out for, Thomas Lemar – A nippy left footed 21 year old winger who has contributed 6 assists and 7 goals this season, Benjamin Mendy – A defensive minded tall powerful player who can play in a number of positions and finally Bernardo Silva, another slight figure who can play in any of the attacking positions. At just 22 years old he’s been catching the eye of the ‘big’ European clubs.
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- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Monaco's last 3 games (UEFA Champions League).
- Manchester City have never lost to French opposition in European competition (W1 D2), with all three previous meetings coming against PSG.
- Monaco have come out on top in each of their three Champions League knockout ties with English clubs (v Manchester Utd in 1997/98, Chelsea in 2003/04, Arsenal in 2014/15)
- Manchester City have scored in 100% of their home matches this season
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I really like this Monaco team after watching them win against Tottenham away from home earlier in the competition. This could be the perfect time to play Manchester City, who let’s face it, are struggling for form all over the pitch. I simply can’t see City keeping a clean sheet and with the quick, nimble attack Monaco have they could well be returning to France very happy indeed.
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Francois is one of Howtobet4free’s co-founders and has written many of Howtobet4free’s popular Betting Guides. Francois also helps run the @howtobet4free_ Twitter account