The Champions League resumes this evening with English representatives Manchester City hosting current Ligue 1 leaders Monaco.
The French club reached the last-16 by topping Tottenham's group and will look to continue their impressive run against English opposition when they visit the Etihad. This will be the fourth time Monaco have faced an English team in the knockout phase of the Champions League and they have progressed on each of the other three occasions.
The principality, led by Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet shocked Manchester United in the quarter finals of the 1997/98 competition, before Chelsea were disposed of on the way to the 2003/04 final. Their most recent meeting was two years ago, where despite being huge outsiders they dumped Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side out in the last-16.
It is no secret that Monaco's potent attack have been the catalyst for their surge up the Ligue 1 table; their 76 goals in 28 games is the highest total in any of Europe's top leagues. A resurgent Radamel Falcao has led their charge, the Colombian international has 19 goals in 25 games in all competitions already this season.
The game this evening has been dominated by discussions over the form and ability of two of the world's great forwards. All the talk from the away side's perspective has been about the form of Falcao, formerly of City's bitter rivals Manchester United. Whilst for City, Sergio Aguero will be hoping to recapture his own early season form. Aguero was benched recently as January signing Gabriel Jesus took centre stage, but injury to the Brazilian youngster has given Aguero the opportunity to prove his worth to manager Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola has tried to ease the pressure on Aguero after he fired a blank against Huddersfield in his return to the starting line-up. The Man City boss, said, "Sergio has enough experience. We are going to talk with him like with all of his team-mates to convince him in these two games, 180 minutes, we are not going to be able to do our best performance because in this level it is so demanding in the Champions League. This is one of the most beautiful competitions to play in and we have to do our best."
Ahead of this evening's game, Manchester City a favourites to progress to the quarter-final as they look to improve on last season's semi-final defeat.
Here are the current odds (courtesy of bet365):
Manchester City - 8/13
Draw - 10/3
Monaco - 19/4
Manchester City - 4/9
Monaco - 7/4TOPICS: