Manchester City v Monaco: Underrated visitors look ready to cause an upset

Falcao has been in tremendous form in Ligue 1 for the Principality outfit in recent months
Falcao has been in tremendous form in Ligue 1 for the Principality outfit in recent months
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After picking eight winners from 10 selections on the competition so far this season, James Eastham selects the smart bets on the big clash at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night...

"Monaco have picked up four points this season against the PSG side that thrashed Barcelona last week and beat Tottenham Hotspur home and away in the group phase."

Best Bet: Lay Manchester City @ 1.645/8

Manchester City v Monaco
Tue, 19:45 GMT
Live on BT Sport 2


Gabriel Jesus is injured so Sergio Aguero is set to lead Manchester City's attack. As usual it is hard to predict exactly how Pep Guardiola's side will line-up.

Monaco defender Jemerson is suspended. He's formed an effective centre-back partnership with Poland international Kamel Glik this season so that's a point of weakness for the visitors. In all other positions Monaco should be at full strength.

Match Odds
Manchester City 1.635/8, Monaco 6.05/1, The Draw 4.47/2

Taken at face value it's impossible to know why Manchester City are such a short price to collect all three points at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.

Yes, the hosts' line-up will be packed with some top-class players and experienced European campaigners, but it's hard to justify City's odds given how brilliantly Monaco have performed domestically and in Europe this season.

Monaco are top of the Ligue 1 table thanks to an excellent W18-D5-L3 record. While Ligue 1 may be of a lower standard than the Premier League, it's worth noting that Monaco have picked up four points from their two Ligue 1 fixtures against the PSG side that blew away Barcelona 4-0 last week in this competition. Monaco ran out 3-1 winners at home to PSG last August and drew 1-1 at Parc des Princes when the sides met just three weeks ago.

Monaco topped Champions League Group E during the autumn, and in doing so won home and away against a Tottenham Hotspur side currently just 2pts below Manchester City in the Premier League table. And while Monaco are a relatively young side it's not as though they have no recent Champions League experience: they were quarter-finalists just two seasons ago after overcoming Arsenal at this stage of the competition.

The only smart move in this market is to oppose the overestimated hosts.

Under/Over 2.5 Goals
Unders 2.3411/8, Overs 1.728/11

Monaco are the highest-scoring side in Europe's five major leagues this season, averaging 2.92 goals a game.

That remarkable figure alone points towards this being a high-scoring encounter, and there are other reasons to suspect the three-goal barrier will be broken. Manchester City scored eight times in three Champions League group stage home fixtures and will be keen to take a lead into their return fixture at Stade Louis II.

The fact that the only guaranteed area of weakness in the Monaco starting XI is at centre-back also suggests there will be chances and goals. The absence of their Brazilian defender Jemerson is a concern, and should create more openings for the hosts.

To Qualify
Manchester City 1.4640/85, Monaco 3.185/40

With Manchester City overpriced to win the first leg it's no surprise that City are also overpriced to go through.

The market makes City 1.4640/85 to reach the last eight, which is another way of saying they have a 68% chance of winning the tie. City are overvalued so the smart bet would be to back Monaco at 3.185/40 in this market.

To Score

Falcao is Monaco's 16-goal Ligue 1 top scorer and understandably the favourite among their players to find the net here but other members of the visitors' line-up should be able to offer you a good run for your money.

Falcao's strike partner Valere Germain is a clever, intelligent and mobile player and a decent finisher. Left winger Thomas Lemar - a player Guardiola reportedly hugely admires - actually prefers operating in a central position and is adept at arriving in the penalty area at the right time. Portugal international Bernardo Silva can be equally effective when he comes into the penalty area off the right wing on his stronger left foot.

When the market has more liquidity Germain and Silva should be available at around 4.57/2 to score any time, with Lemar at 6.05/1. All three of worth considering, but Lemar - who scored home and away against Tottenham and has seven goals in 18 Ligue 1 starts this season - would be my pick at bigger odds.

Recommended Bets

Lay Manchester City @ 1.645/8
Back Monaco To Qualify @ 3.185/40
Back Thomas Lemar To Score @ 6.05/1

James' 2016/17 Champions League P/L

Staked: 10pts
Returned: 20.14pts
P/L: +10.14pts (101% ROI)

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