Manchester City face a potentially tricky home tie in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 with Ligue 1 leaders Monaco this midweek (7.45pm Tuesday, BT Sport 2).
Pep Guardiola’s charges qualified for the knockout stage after finishing second in their group, with defeat by Barcelona at the Camp Nou and draws with Celtic and Borussia Monchengladbach costing the Premier League side top spot.
Man City made it further than ever before in Europe’s foremost continental club competition under Manuel Pellegrini last term, as the English outfit reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual winners Real Madrid over two legs. Guardiola has never failed to advance to the last four of the tournament in his time as a manager at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but the former Spain international will probably find it more difficult to take his current club that far this time around. Having said that, there is arguably no outstanding contender in this season’s edition of the Champions League, which could open the door for a team like City, Paris Saint-Germain or Monaco to get their hands on the trophy for the first time in their respective histories.
Monaco progressed to the last 16 by finishing top of their segment, ahead of English side Tottenham Hotspur, German outfit Bayer Leverkusen and Russian club CSKA Moscow. A return of three wins, two draws and one loss was an extremely positive one for a team who many tipped to finish third in Group E as Leonardo Jardim did a fantastic job in guiding the principality club through to the knockout rounds.
Monaco are also going strong in Ligue 1 this term. Despite dropping a couple of points in a 1-1 draw with Bastia on Friday night, Jardim’s men remain three points clear at the top of the table in the French top flight. Winning a first league title since the turn of the millennium in 2000 remains the priority for Monaco between now and the end of the campaign. Supporters at the Stade Louis II may also be quietly optimistic about their side’s chances of a sustained run in the Champions League.
Man City will be without Vincent Kompany (muscle), Ilkay Gundogan (knee) and Gabriel Jesus (foot), while defenders Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov could both miss out due to knocks. Sergio Aguero will keep his place at centre-forward given the enforced absence of newcomer Jesus, with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling set to provide the support from the flanks and David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne filling the creative roles in midfield. At the back, John Stones will probably be partnered by Nicolas Otamendi in the heart of the defence, while Fernandinho may be deployed at full-back once again.
Monaco are missing Gabriel Boschilia, Guido Carrillo and Andrea Raggi for their trip to Manchester. Jardim favours a 4-4-2 formation and will stick with his usual setup for this match, with Radamel Falcao and Valere Germain starting up front, Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar on the wings, and Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko in the centre of the park.
This Preview’s Man City v Monaco Betting Tips
This has the potential to be a fascinating first leg at the Etihad Stadium, with both teams having demonstrated their considerable attacking potential throughout the 2016/17 campaign. This preview’s betting tips verdict is that it is worth backing Man City with the online bookmakers to come out on top in a open and entertaining encounter, with both teams likely to find the back of the net. Another market worth considering is for anytime goalscorer. The low odds offered on Aguero means wide man Sterling, who has scored on eight occasions in all competitions this season, might prove the best option. This preview’s Man City vs Monaco betting tips are:
- Manchester City to beat Monaco with both teams to score at a best price of 11/5 with William Hill.
- Bet on Raheem Sterling to score anytime at a best price of 2/1 with Betfred or Paddy Power.
- If you are planning having a bet on this intriguing Champions League first leg match, then see all the welcome free bets from the best betting sites.