Manchester City v AS Monaco, Champions League 2016/17

22 February, 2017, 00:59 | Author: Felix Jensen
  • Manchester City's Sergio Aguero

They can take encouragement from the fact they reached the semi-finals previous year, beating PSG along the way, and Guardiola's undoubted Champions League know-how gives them an extra weapon. Monaco will be hoping to get at least a draw here so they will be at the upper hand when going home.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, City boss Guardiola said: "A lot of big clubs are not here, they are not living that situation. It is very important for people who look at us, evaluate us and criticise us to see we are going in the right direction".

As Guardiola said: Monaco are killers in the box!

When asked about who will he be rooting for, he's not afraid of saying it's not Monaco: "It's a mix of feelings and I won't root for any of them". We have watched them in their past five or six games.

Others, meanwhile, were just amazed to see that he is still able to play at this level at all.

"Last year was a great step for the team", De Bruyne said, aware that progress on a continental stage plays a larger role in appraisals of City.

As far as the team news is concerned, City captain Vincent Kompany is unavailable with the leg injury that forced him to miss the FA Cup tie at Huddersfield.

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Interestingly, Manchester are actually playing their backup keeper in this match, with Willy Caballero between the sticks instead of Claudio Bravo. Pep Guardiola insists his relationship with Sergio Aguero remains strong despite mounting speculation over the Manchester City striker's future since the arrival of Gabriel Jesus.

"Sergio has enough experience". For Monaco, it means a slight change in formation to help get Kylian Mbappe on the pitch, with Thomas Lemar sliding inside to support Radamel Falcao as a number 10.

He gave the ball away with a poor clearance and the visitors worked it to Fabinho whose devilish cross was headed home by former Manchester United and Chelsea striker Falcao, who has found his best form again since returning to France.

Monaco are without central defender Jemerson, who is suspended.

Monaco are well-stocked in every department, with Gabriel Boschilla the sole absentee as he is recovering from a cruciate ligament rupture. Or is this the moment that not only legitimises Monaco as a real threat in the competition but also puts Ligue 1 on the map after last week's exploits?

The ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss urged his players to grasp a "beautiful" occasion, acknowledging City's vast riches can not buy the familiarity and ease with major European nights that were second nature to his previous employers.

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