Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Manchester City 5-3 Monaco: Five things we learned from goal fest at Etihad

Milos Markovic in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 21 Feb 2017

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Disbelief. Utter disbelief.

What. A. Game.

This is arguably the craziest UEFA Champions League match we have ever seen in our lives and it is fair to say all of those who missed the opportunity to watch the duel between Manchester City and Monaco will regret it dearly.

We saw eight goals but drew 5 conclusions for you to read:

Games like these are not good for your health

Manchester City and Monaco played one of those games you don’t get to see very often.

The Tuesday night’s clash had it all – starting from the horrendous defending and errors from respective goalkeepers, penalties and denied penalties, all the way to stunning goals and moments of brilliance.

It was Monaco who showed great courage and willingness to go forward and attack from the off and made value of their bravery through Falcao and Mbappe, both of whom did brilliantly to deny Raheem Sterling’s opener.

Manchester City refused to go down without a fight and will thank Sergio Aguero for his brace, which kept them alive in the game. With the Argentine dynamo scoring third to level the score after Falcao missed a penalty and then scored a brilliant goal to make amends, Manchester City threw all cards in attack and made worth through Stones and Leroy Sane in this eight-goal thriller.

Caballero and Stones go from villains to heroes

You would have thought that Joe Hart’s departure and the arrival of Claudio Bravo would have solved the problem for Pep Guardiola, who brought a goalkeeping solution to his own liking. But still, the goalkeeping position remains arguably the weakest link in Manchester City team in addition to the terrible defending which was on display on this particular night, thanks to John Stones in the first place.

With Claudio Bravo struggling for form, Guardiola turned to Caballero for the first leg of the Champions League Last-16 tie. Guardiola’s second-choice keeper went from villain in the first half to hero in the second, to put Guardiola through an emotional rollercoaster.

City keeper made an error that lead to Monaco’s first-half leveler, but ended up saving Falcao’s penalty, whereas he also had another few important clearances in the second half.

Same could be said for defender Stones who made terrible mistakes in the backline, but also made huge amends in the closing stages of the game when he tapped in the fourth for Manchester City – showing great courage and relentlessness of spirit which got him to Manchester City in the first place.

Radamel Falcao back to his best!

And his missed penalty will not have done much to make us change our mind.

He might be the only player to miss two penalties in the Champions League this season and he might struggle against English opposition in general, but the Colombian Tiger has had an impressive night against Manchester City.

Radamel Falcao looks like a changed man and is such a contrast to a mentally-struggling striker we were seeing at Chelsea and Manchester United. The Colombian displayed brilliant self-confidence, courage and audacity in his display as he went on to score two goals for his team.

The second goal was a thing of beauty as Falcao showed impressive speed to latch on a ball and strength to shake off Stones, before impressing with brilliant composure to lob the City goalkeeper.

Leonardo Jardim sporting a brilliantly talented side

Monaco should be complimented greatly for a change in approach which yielded great results over the last year. The French club have ditched the heavily spending approach to invest in young talents and to develop their own players which proved to be great success.

They might have failed to wrap up the game tonight and paid the price for their inexperience, but should be warmly praised nevertheless.

The great work Leonardo Jardim and his managerial team are doing at Monaco is most visible with the likes of Bernardo Silva and most prominently Kylian Mbappe.

Former Benfica starlet Bernardo Silva joined Monaco in 2014/15 and wasted no time in announcing his presence with the French club. Having made a break on to the international scene, the 22-year-old Portugal playmaker is given freedom to develop his creativity in the centre of the park, which he is wholeheartedly doing.

As for the 18-year-old Mbappe, who’s taken European football by storm – sky is the limit.

His goal against Manchester City was his first in the Champions League, which made him the second youngest French player to score in the elite competition, after Karim Benzema.  The boy continues to impress for Monaco and no wonder biggest European sides are lining up behind him.

Aguero sends huge message to Pep Guardiola

His future had been put in doubt with the emergence of Gabriel Jesus at the beginning of 2017, but writing off Sergio Aguero is a wrong thing to do.

The Argentine is a Manchester City legend, whose influence in the game goes far beyond goals and this claim has once again been confirmed against Monaco in the Champions League. With the sizzling Brazilian Jesus out with an injury, Sergio Aguero stepped up to the plate to bag a brace and keep the game alive.

Everything Radamel Falcao did tonight, Sergio Aguero did it better as he matched his brace and added an assist for Leroy Sane at the fifth goal for his side. One of his strikes was Manchester City’s 200th European goal and the Argentine will remain in the books for good as le helped City to this important milestone.

Aguero used the game against Monaco to once again firm his position in the team and send a clear message – not only to Pep Guardiola, but to all doubters – that he is here to stay.

MANCHESTER CITY: Caballero 6.5 – Sagna 6, Stones 7, Otamendi 6.5, Fernandinho 6 (Zabaleta 7) – Toure 6 – Sterling 7.5 (Navas 6), Silva 7, De Bruyne 7, Sane 7.5 – Aguero 8.5 (Fernando 6)

Unused Subs: Bravo, Delph, Iheanacho, Nolito.

MONACO: Subasic 6 – Sidibe 6.5, Glik 6, Raggi 6, Mendy 6 – Fabinho 6.5, Bakayoko 6 (Dirar 6.5) – Silva 7.5 (Moutinho 6.5), Lemar 7, Mbappe 8 (Germain 6) – Falcao 8.5

Unused Subs: Carillo, De Sanctis, Diallo, Toure.

REFEREE: Antonio Mateu Lahoz

Other result tonight

Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Atletico Madrid

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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