Of all the Champions League last 16 clashes that will be played out in the coming couple of weeks, you could argue that it is this one which is the most intriguing and finely poised.
Here are two sides who are relentless in their desire to score goals; Monaco are the leading scorers in European football’s elite divisions with a whopping 76 in 26 starts. Other than a dead rubber with Bayer Leverkusen in the group stage of this competition, the French outfit have lost once since October.
And yet the bookies don’t offer them much hope: they are 5/1 to win this first leg and 21/10 to qualify for the quarter finals.
Are you won over by Manchester City? We’re not; clearly there are issues defensively and in a fixture where away goals are key that could be a real problem. Nobody is questioning City’s own voracious appetite for goals; they hammered three past Barcelona in the group phase and average some 6.00 shots on target per game on home soil, but in the context of this tie conceding a goal in this first leg could be catastrophic.
So who will take the bragging rights and a first leg lead to France in a fortnight’s time?
We can discuss the ramifications of this game until the cows come home, but surely there will be goals here. Manchester City are still without Vincent Kompany, and will need to hand late fitness tests to Aleksandr Kolarov and Gael Clichy ahead of kick-off. Without that pair, the Citizens would be very vulnerable down their left flank.
A quick bit of logic dictates that if we hand Monaco a goal headstart – and we assume they will score here such is their appetite – then Manchester City would need to score three times to clear any such handicap.
It’s possible, of course, but the French side are better defensively than most give them credit for.
City may win this game by the odd goal, but our main wager of interest is Monaco with a +1 Asian Handicap at 8/9 with BetVictor.
Let’s not beat about the bush: the 21/20 available at Coral on Over 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score is unmissable value, and should be backed as soon as possible.
Champions League games of this magnitude often start off cagey as two teams unfamiliar with each other look to strike the first blow without leaving themselves open to a counter foray.
But it only takes a spark to catch for the blue touch paper to be lit – especially with a pair of sides as attacking as these naturally are – so back the second half to be the highest scoring at Evens with bet365.
For correct score enthusiasts, the 2-1 in either direction looks distinctly possible, but we’ll just edge it towards the Man City 2-1 correct scoreline at 15/2 with Betfair.
Monaco +1 Asian Handicap (8/9 with BetVictor)
Over 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score (21/20 with Coral)
Highest Scoring Half: Second (Evens with bet365)
Man City 2-1 Correct Score (15/2 with Betfair)