Manchester City’s incredible 5-3 win over AS Monaco was one of the best UEFA Champions League encounters of all time. The match had everything anyone could have asked for with both teams fully invested with attacking intent all game long. These are all the big talking points from this incredible fixture.
Sane and Sterling The Future For Manchester City
Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling were two of Manchester City’s most integral players on Tuesday night. They combined for the first goal to initially give City the lead and each had a hand in a later goal as well.
Several stars attempted to steal the show in Manchester City’s massive 5-3 win over AS Monaco, but Leroy Sane might just have been the brightest star in the sky. The German winger was impeccable whenever he found the ball at his feet and gave Djibril Sidibe an absolute nightmare down that left-hand side. Sidibe has earned a reputation as one of the finest fullbacks in France this season but after Sane put on a clinic against him this week, Bacary Sagna might be staying in the French National Team for a little while longer. Sane just made the 24-year old defender look absolutely silly and it was the German’s best performance in a Manchester City shirt as he assisted City’s first goal and then scored the final goal of the game. Sane also completed 91% of his passes, created 2 chances and always looked like City’s liveliest attacker.
But it wasn’t just Sane who was instrumental in giving Manchester City the win, 22-year old Raheem Sterling was also absolutely essential to the victory. Full of pace, vibrancy and energy, Raheem Sterling ensured that Benjamin Mendy had an absolute shocker at left-back in Manchester City’s 5-3 win over AS Monaco. The British winger has been in fine form this season and looked sublime in this match, allowing the Citizens to play with a great amount of width, pace and power, particularly on the counter attack. His all-round play was massive for Pep Guardiola’s team and with another goal and assist to his name he continues to prove why he has arguably been the manager’s best player this season. Sterling also won 3 take-on’s to give the aforementioned Mendy all sorts of problems and completed 93% of his passes, doing what Guardiola likes best and helping to keep possession for his team.
It was just a phenomenal performance from both the young German international and the young Englishman in this thrilling Champions League encounter. Sane and Sterling were City’s most important players in a performance that might have just sent Pep Guardiola’s men through to the next round in the competition. With these two in their lineup, the immediate future looks bright for Manchester City and the far future looks even brighter.
Kylian Mbappe-Lottin, The Next Anthony Martial
18-year old Kylian Mbappe-Lottin has come out of nowhere to be one of AS Monaco’s star men this season. The young French talent and his fellow teammate Thomas Lemar have both been compared to Anthony Martial this season for their incredible pace and fantastic play in Ligue 1 this season. But Mbappe-Lottin proved why he is really the next closest thing to the Manchester United forward with his performance on Tuesday night. Lemar disappeared for large sections of the game and maybe that was just a hint that he might not exactly be ready to play in games of this magnitude. However, Mbappe-Lottin lived up to his expectations and was lively and vibrant all game long, giving Otamendi, Stones and Fernandinho all sorts of problems down City’s left side. The pacey forward just looks impossible to stop when he’s in full flow and with a cool and incisive finish in the 40th minute, gave AS Monaco a 2-1 lead over the Citizens. Their lead might not have lasted for long but Mbappe-Lottin still showed a tremendous amount of promise for what he might be capable of in the future with his incredible performance against the Sky Blues.
Radamel Falcao is Well and Truly Back to his Best
Radamel Falcao is well and truly back to his best again. The Colombian forward had a torrid time in England with both Manchester United and Chelsea but is back to his uncontrollable goal-scoring self again with AS Monaco this season. Falcao was magnificent against Manchester City and his performance will leaving Premier League fans around the world scratching their hands as to why he couldn’t perform to that level in his time in England. Falcao was Monaco’s key man in the match, scoring two outrageous goals. He first capitalized on a mistake from John Stones with an amazing bit of movement and a diving header to draw Monaco level, putting the game at 1-1. But then later on in the match he made things 3-2 for the Ligue 1 side with an amazing run and bit of skill to make John Stones look foolish before chipping the ball past goalkeeper Willy Caballero who looked equally foolish. Falcao was just all over this match, winning a penalty, scoring goals, making like difficult for Stones and Otamendi and at times looking ready to lead The Red & Whites into the next round. Even if Manchester City managed to grab the win in the end, it was an incredibly hard-fought performance from Monaco and the man who led the charge was undoubtedly Radamel Falcao.
Sergio Aguero Still an Essential Piece to Pep’s Puzzle
Sergio Aguero is back! Once the Argentinean gets one goal more are always soon to follow and that is exactly what happened on Tuesday night. City were down by 3 goals to 2 until Aguero found the back of the net thanks to a bit of poor goalkeeping from Danijel Subasic but it was his goal that lifted the spirits of the Sky Blues and allowed them to take control of the game. From that point on, City were the dominating force and would go on to score two more goals, one of which was a stunning volley from the Argentinean striker. Leading the line brilliantly well, he also assisted Leroy Sane’s goal and did excellently well to win what should have been a penalty until the referee called it the other way. Thanks to a horrible injury to Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero is back in the team and back amongst the goals again. Despite missing out on a few recent matches, his role in Pep Guardiola’s team is still absolutely critical as without him this match would have been a very different story.
Fabinho, One of Europe’s Finest Midfielders
Fabinho has been AS Monaco’s most impressive player this season and he just continues to impress, even against one of Europe’s elite teams. Coming up against a Manchester City midfield that included Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Yaya Toure, this was supposed to be a very tough evening for the 23-year old Monaco men. But the Brazilian proved exactly why he is one of Europe’s finest midfielders with his performance on Tuesday as De Bruyne, Silva and Toure could not get into the game. De Bruyne in particular looked absolutely lifeless at times and Fabinho with the help of his sidekick Tiemoue Bakayogo limited the Belgian to just 51 touches. The AS Monaco man is normally key to Monaco’s team for his goal-scoring prowess from the spot, tough tackling nature and impeccable defensive awareness but in this match showed a different part of this game, becoming the provider. Fabinho assisted both of Monaco’s first half-goals; the first with an amazing cross right on to the diving head of Radamel Falcao and the second from a ball over the top of the heads of the City defenders which Mbappe-Lottin ran onto in a flash and slotted home. Fabinho is not normally such an incredible play-maker of goals but with two assists against Pep Guardiola’s team, showed a different side to his game that has not often been seen this season. With assists now clearly a part of his repertoire, Fabinho is not just becoming one of Europe’s finest midfielders but is proving that he already at that level.
Too Many Mistakes Means Guardiola Still has to Invest
John Stones had an absolute shocker of game, Willy Caballero made far too many mistakes and Nicholas Otamendi failed to make a positive impact on another Manchester City match. These are the three that Manchester City need to replace the most come next season. Manchester City’s exciting summer additions of Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Nolito and Ilkay Gundogan made most people (including The Mastermind) very quick to jump the gun on Guardiola and declare Manchester City in the pre-season to be this year’s Premier League title winners. But Guardiola failed to really rebuild a shaky defense that had pegged Manuel Pellegrini back for years and continues to pay the price for it.
The inability of Stones and Otamendi to defend and the inability of Caballero (or to a greater extent Claudio Bravo) to stop goals from going in is exactly why Manchester City aren’t up there with Chelsea right now battling for the title. They have simply made too many mistakes this season and that again proved to be their achilles heel against the Ligue 1 title challengers. Monaco and Falcao ruthlessly punished Stones’ three mistakes in the match while Otamendi was poor in giving away a penalty and not keeping up with the run of Mbappe-Lottin for Monaco’s second goal of the game. Meanwhile although Caballero saved a penalty and had a decent final fifteen minutes, he could have been claimed culpable for each of Monaco’s goals, never knowing the right time to stay on his line or come and challenge for a ball. These are the three that Pep Guardiola needs to replace in his lineup if Manchester City are going to have any shot at winning the Premier League next season.
This game was just incredible. It was the best 90 minutes of football I have seen all season by a country mile and one of the best games I have ever seen. With so many stars on show and two teams full of attacking intent, there really was just so much to talk about and dissect in this UEFA Champions League encounter. Make sure to check out which of the stars mentioned above make our Team of the Week, set to come out tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed it and click the follow button to the right of your screen for more articles like this every single week.