Are Man City the real deal in this season’s Champions League?

We have to start by saluting the five punters who got on the 125/1 for Manchester City to beat Monaco 5-3 earlier this week. Drop us a message with your predictions for the rest of the season please, we could do with a winner like that!

But now we’re moving onto the match itself. It was a great one for the neutrals, a heartbreaking one for the visitors, and a nail-biting one for the home fans.

But what did we learn from City’s performance? Ladbrokes News runs you through the three major talking points from the game…

Defensive howlers could prove costly

For all of their attacking prowess, there still remains a question mark over Man City’s defensive unit. Neither Claudio Bravo nor Willy Caballero are doing enough to warrant a place in the starting XI, while Pep Guardiola’s back three/four seems to change every other week.

A sloppy piece of defending from Nicolas Otamendi resulted in the referee giving away a penalty, while John Stones’ weaknesses were exploited once again after he was brushed aside by Radamel Falcao for Monaco’s third goal.

Pep should go all out to get key man

We’re beginning to see why Monaco were so happy to sell Anthony Martial to Manchester United in 2015, and it’s because they had a replacement ready and waiting in Kylian Mbappe.

The 18-year old has been on fire this season in Ligue 1, and shone on the big stage at the Etihad this week.

Young, confident on the ball and capable of playing anywhere in a front three he’d be a perfect fit for Guardiola at City.

He’s been linked with a whole host of top European clubs over the last few weeks – but if last night was his City audition, he passed with flying colours.

The importance of SAS

There’s been plenty of hype surrounding Gabriel Jesus this year. But so much attention has been on the young Brazilian that not many have given Leroy Sane the credit he deserves.

At 21, he’s fast becoming a crucial first-team player at the Etihad, scoring vital goals against the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and of course, Monaco this season.

But he’s just one third of arguably the most deadly front three in the Premier League right now.

Speculation surrounding Sergio Aguero’s Man City exit seems to have died down now, and he’s enjoying being back in the spotlight. In truth, it’s remarkable that the striker has been considered surplus to requirements at the Etihad. He’s scored 20 goals in all competitions so far this campaign, and is relishing playing alongside Sane and Raheem Sterling up-front.

And that takes us nicely onto the final part of this deadly trio.

After taking a year to settle in Manchester, Sterling is certainly flourishing under Guardiola, and beginning to justify his £50m price tag.

He’s already netted nine goals in all competitions this campaign, and has a staggering 10 assists to his name in the Premier League alone.

Sterling is enjoying playing a vital role under the former Barcelona boss, and has started 22 games this season, just one less than last campaign – and there’s still 13 games to go.

Opposition defenders should worry, because this trio are only getting stronger.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.