If there is one thing Monaco have built up a reputation for this season, it is the ability to find the net regularly. Heading into last month’s first leg in Manchester, many neutrals predicted goals – that eight followed, the first time that had happened in a knockout tie, was perhaps less expected.
Arguably the continent’s most exciting side right now, boasting 82 goals in the French top flight this term – more than any other side in Europe’s top five divisions – Monaco will still back themselves to overcome the deficit in Wednesday’s second leg.
Defeat to City was their first in 16 outings, and they were soon back to winning ways at the weekend when overcoming an improved Bordeaux side 2-1 on home soil to keep a hold of top spot in Ligue 1, narrowly ahead of reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain.
In many ways it is PSG’s collapse at Camp Nou last week, when letting ship six times in a match that just about overshadowed what was witnessed in Manchester a fortnight prior, that gives Les Monegasques further hope of recovering from their own late collapse in the first leg.
Not that they will need telling that this match is still very much in the balance, of course, as opposition boss Pep Guardiola himself admitted soon after full time last month that his side would almost certainly have to score more goals if they were to progress through.
Guardiola knows full well that sitting back on the slender two-goal advantage will only get his side so far, with Monaco scoring at a rate of 2.93 goals-per-game this term in Ligue 1, rejuvenated striker Radamel Falcao scoring 14 of those from a range of positions.
Even the most ardent City supporter will surely expect that run to come to an end at the Stade Louis II, having previously seen their side concede three times at Celtic Park this European campaign and four times at Camp Nou during the group stage.
A goalless draw with Stoke City on home soil a week ago certainly was not the best way to kick off a week described by Guardiola as ‘season defining’, but it was back to winning ways last time out as they eased to a 2-0 win over a feeble Middlesbrough side to keep their hopes alive of a double this term – a treble for those optimistic enough to think Chelsea will slip up in the Premier League.