187 goals scored. 82 goals conceded. Amazing young players. Two superstar strikers from South America. Two attack minded teams. Manchester City. AS Monaco.
Welcome to what promises to be the most entertaining matchup in the Round of 16 of this season's UEFA Champions League. The two sides play the first leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, and if their performances this season are any indication of what's to come in the 180 minutes between them, we're in for a treat.
Monaco may just be the best team in Europe this season along with Chelsea. Unlike the Blues, who pride themselves in fierce defending and competitive play, the side from the Principality have the best attack in the continent and lead the French league with a high-flying style that leads to many goals and entertaining matches.
City have Pep Guardiola and great players, but we know the roller coaster ride this team has treated us to throughout the season. The Sky Blues come to this tie in good form, unbeaten in six matches with four clean sheets and a newfound attacking midfield that is killing defenses in England for the last few weeks.
These two teams love to attack and also like to concede, and both teams can hurt each other with possession play and killer counter-attacking actions; both teams have amazing young talents and established stars; and both teams have the potential to trade punches for two legs until one goes down and the other advances to the quarterfinals.
This will be SO FUN.
MATCH INFO, HOW TO WATCH ON TV/ONLINE
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 7:45PM GMT (UK), 2:45PM EST, 11:45AM PT (USA), 1:15AM IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Television: BT Sport 2 (UK), Fox Sports 1 (USA), SuperSport 3 (Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa), TEN 1 HD (India), TSN5 (Canada), beIN SPORTS 1 (Australia)
Online streaming: BT Sport Live Streaming (UK), Fox Sports GO, FoxSoccer2GO (USA), FuboTV (USA, 7-day free trial + monthly subscription)
(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)
Two weeks ago, there were no injuries at City. Since then, Gabriel Jesus was lost for the season, Vincent Kompany picked up another problem, and Gaël Clichy hurt his back. Clichy will be available for selection, but the Frenchman may not start at left-back. The most likely starting lineup is the one that dominated AFC Bournemouth last week, with Fernandinho at left-back, Yaya Touré, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in midfield, Leroy Sané and Raheem Sterling on the wings, and Sergio Agüero up front.
City have to control possession and stay compact while attacking, because Monaco have pace and skill on the wings to beat anyone on the counter, and a Falcao García on fire up front ready to score. Monaco create dangerous chances via crosses, so John Stones should be prepared to have busy night heading the ball away from his area. Behind him, we still don't know who the goalkeeper is going to be, especially since Claudio Bravo made a very good return to the posts against Huddersfield, but Willy Caballero has been solid and should stay in goal.
Creativity, pace, control, intelligence. City need it all.
Man City: Caballero; Sagna, Stones, Kolarov, Fernandinho; Touré; Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Sané; Agüero
Monaco: Subasic; Sidibé, Glik, Raggi, Mendy; Bernardo, Fabinho, Bakayoko, Lemar; Falcao, Germain
First leg victory for City, the whole tie still wide open. It's all about the fun. 3-2 City.