Five Monaco players Manchester City must stop if they are to make the Champions League quarter-finalsPublished February 21, 2017
Manchester City face one of Europe’s in form teams tonight when they play Monaco in the Champions League last-16 first leg.
After finishing second in their group, Pep Guardiola’s men would have been relieved to miss the competition’s perennial big guns such as Barcelona and Juventus in the draw – but by the same token Ligue 1 leaders Monaco must not be underestimated either.
The team from the French Principality are blessed with a number of fine young players and have struck 76 goals in just 26 league games- the highest in any of Europe’s top five leagues.
With that in mind, then, here are five players to keep an eye on in tonight’s clash at the Etihad.
Radamel Falcao, Striker
A name well known to Premier League supporters; although not for the right reasons. Falcao flopped in England with Manchester United and Chelsea but has since rediscovered his goalscoring form on the French Riviera and has 20 strikes to his name in just 26 starts.
The Colombian is highly unlikely to cause City any problems in behind, yet retains the poacher’s instinct that saw him thrive at Porto and Atletico Madrid.
Thomas Lemar, Winger
One of the hottest properties in French football at the moment, 21-year-old winger Lemar has enjoyed a superb campaign to date and will be a real threat to City’s hopes of progression.
Pacey, direct and with a wand of a left-foot, the Guadeloupe-born youngster may move on to even bigger and better things if he impresses tonight.
Bernardo Silva, Midfielder
Portuguese attacking midfielder Silva is another top young talent at the Stade Louis. Possessing superb balance and a keen eye for a pass, the versatile playmaker is also a threat from range- as PSG found to their detriment in the recent 1-1 draw between the teams.
Fernandinho and Co will have to be at the top of their game to keep him at bay.
Kylian Mbappe, Striker
Labelled the ‘New Henry’ in his homeland in light of his long stride and assured finishing, teenager Kylian Mbappe has long been predicted a bright future by those in the know.
The striker, who can also play from the left, scored a hat-trick in the February 12 win over Metz but may have to content himself with a place on the bench if Monaco decide to play a more cautious game in Manchester.
Even so, City defenders will have to be particularly wary of the starlet when he does eventually enter the fray.
Benjamin Mendy, Left-back
One major feature of Monaco’s attacking game is the way full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe bomb on from defence to provide width in Leonardo Jardim’s favoured 4-4-2 formation. Both are key outlets, however, left-back Mendy is in the midst of a purple patch of form at present, and was Monaco’s star man in the 1-1 draw against PSG.
The reported Manchester United target is an excellent crosser of the ball and provides the ammunition for Falcao up front.