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Monaco v Man City: Talking Points

CHASING DOWN: City's defence will have to work hard to keep out Falcao in the second leg

CHASING DOWN: City's defence will have to work hard to keep out Falcao in the second leg

Ahead of Manchester City's crucial Champions League last-16 game with Monaco, Club journalist Rob Pollard has taken a look at some of the pre-match talking points...

Goals, goals, goals

If the first leg taught us anything, it is that City and Monaco are two of the finest attacking sides in Europe right now.

At their best, few can match City’s fluidity and brilliance going forward. In Leroy Sane they have one of the most exciting young wingers in the game, and David Silva is perhaps the form player in the English top flight.

And with Sergio Aguero looking in razor-sharp form, they have a cutting edge in the final third that makes them a devastating prospect.

Pace, width, guile and goals – City’s attack is varied and full of quality.

But Monaco, too, have a frightening forward line. They have managed 84 goals in Ligue 1 – more than any other top-flight European side – and in the first game at the Etihad they showed they can score goals on the biggest stage.

Bernardo Silva is perhaps their most gifted talent – but in Kylian Mbappe they have one of the quickest and most promising teenagers in the game. At just 18, his 16 goals this season is a remarkable return and he caused City plenty of problems in the first leg.

Falcao suffered a hip injury during Monaco’s weekend win over that saw them move five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 – but he hopes to be fit and, if he does play, gives them a ruthlessness inside the penalty area that would cause any defence problems.

One thing is almost guaranteed from this game: goals.

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City squad in good shape

With the exception of long-term injury victims Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus, Pep Guardiola has a fully fit squad to choose from for arguably the most important match of the season to date.

And not only are Guardiola’s players in decent health, they’re in excellent form. City have won 10 of their 14 matches in 2017, a run that has them produce some fine football along the way.

They appear to be peaking at just the right time.

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City have starmen playing on the wings

A feature of City’s improved performances in 2017 has been the width and wizardry offered by Sane on the left and Raheem Sterling on the right.

Teams are struggling to cope. Both players are scoring and creating goals, and their desire to hug the touchline is stretching the opposition and giving the likes of Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure more room to operate in the middle of the pitch.

Both have electrifying pace, the ability to beat defenders and soaring confidence.

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Top-class Yaya

Toure’s form has been exceptional since his return to the starting XI at Crystal Palace in November and is undoubtedly an integral part of Guardiola’s midfield setup.

He’s perhaps the finest passer of in the City squad - his unerring accuracy key to City’s ability to dominate possession.

Keeping the ball will be if huge importance on Wednesday evening in Monaco and few are as good as the 33-year-old at retaining possession.

There will be full coverage of Monaco v Manchester City on mancity.com and across the club's digital channels.

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