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Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Home comforts can help City grab first-leg lead

Guardiola's side can nullify free-scoring Monaco

Manchester City's Leroy Sane (19) celebrates with Yaya Toure
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Champions League last-16 first leg
BT Sport 2, 7.45pm Tuesday

The home teams landed a clean sweep in last week's Champions League last-16 ties and Manchester City can further highlight the importance of that advantage in European competition with a first-leg success over Monaco.

The visitors arrive at the Etihad top of Ligue 1 and with a reputation as one of the most attractive teams to watch in Europe having scored 76 goals in what is usually considered a dull championship.

Monaco have already seen off the challenge of Tottenham at home and at Wembley but it would be wrong to go overboard about them. Bookmakers are rightly not believing the hype and City deserve to be reasonably strong favourites.

When City are on their game they are the best side in the Premier League and Pep Guardiola's team have played well in 2017 apart from the disaster of a 4-0 loss at Everton when the Toffees scored with all four of their shots on target.

Tottenham also made the most of limited chances in a 2-2 draw when City deserved much more and since then City had won four straight Premier League matches before a much-changed side drew 0-0 at Sky Bet Championship club Huddersfield in the FA Cup.

That stalemate made it just one goal conceded in their last five matches and with their defence performing better City's slick attacking players can go to work with confidence.

Sergio Aguero has a point to prove after being dropped and those behind the forward - Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva - are way above the calibre of player Monaco usually come up against in Ligue 1.

Monaco's away performances have not always matched their home efforts this term either, with a 2-1 defeat at Fenerbahce in Champions League qualifying a prime example.

They were hammered 4-0 at Nice and 3-1 at Toulouse and needed extra-time to see off lower-league Sochaux and Chambly in the French cup competitions.

Monaco finished Friday's 1-1 draw at Bastia strongly but they were poor for an hour and the absence of the suspended Jemerson at the heart of their defence will only add to Jardim's concerns.

Jardim has reportedly tested out a 4-3-3 formation in training as he looks to protect his defence and even a narrow defeat would be considered a good result.

The visitors are excellent on the counter-attack and Bernardo Silva, Thomas Lemar and, potentially, teenage wonderkid Kylian Mbappe could be used to provide the bullets for Radamel Falcao. 

However, defensively Monaco are even more vulnerable than City and have kept only four clean sheets in 20 away matches. Three of those shutouts were against bottom-half sides in Ligue 1 and the other was against ten-man Bordeaux.

Recommendation
Manchester City
2pts 8-13 general

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Team news
Manchester City
Vincent Kompany remains sidelined but City are hopeful Gael Clichy will return. Pep Guardiola claims he is undecided on who will start in goal. Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus are long-term absentees.

Monaco
Guido Carillo returns to the squad but Gabriel Boschilla is injured and Jemerson is suspended. 

Key stat
Manchester City have scored in all 16 home matches this season.

 

Defensively Monaco are even more vulnerable than City with four clean sheets in 20 away matches
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