What's behind the rebirth of Radamel Falcao and Ligue 1 surprise package Monaco?
We ask our French expert about Monaco, a revitalised Radamel Falcao and the French side's meeting with Manchester City in the Champions League last 16.
What have Monaco done to become so deadly in terms of goals?
Monaco made a few changes from last year. They have basically kept the same core from last season. They didn't lose any key players offensively, and they added talent from players who were on loan last season (Falcao, Germain, Bschilla), or thanks to intelligent thinking in the transfer market, especially Mendy and Sidibé on the side of the defence. They are truly part of the offensive fire power of Monaco this season, way more than Raggi and Coentrao last season.
Leonardo Jardim proved again how good he can be by adjusting his system to two strikers instead of one, putting Moutinho - who is good but slows the tempo too much - on the bench. And young guns such as Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva, Lemar or Mbappé keep on growing and improving.
Can they sustain this form over the season?
They were mostly lucky with no major injuries since the beginning of the season. It could change with some health troubles. But they really seem irresistible almost every game. Even the subs keep this pace as the won 7-0 Wednesday in League Cup against Rennes with only half of the starting 11.
Do you think they will be a threat to City in the Champions League?
It is hard to answer right now. Monaco are so good it seems there is almost no room for improving while City are on the rise. City have more experience and Monaco were less impressive in Champions League, struggling to play their style against Bayer Leverkusen on both occasions and even against Moscow. City is the favourite. But Monaco have reasons to believe.
Monaco's French defender Djibril Sidibe celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League group E football match AS Monaco and Tottenham Hotspur FC at the Louis II stadium in Monaco on November 22, 2016AFP
Are they causing a sensation in France with all these goals?
As I said, they seem irresistible, they lost against Nice and Toulouse, in form teams when they met with Monaco. Their offensive strength is something that hasn't been seen in Ligue 1 for a very long time.
Who are the key players?
Falcao is becoming the player we saw three seasons ago, almost scoring with every chances he has. Lemar and Bernardo Silva give the technical superiority and they run the show almost perfectly this season. Glik has become the boss of the defence in three months and is a very good signing. And Subasic is probably one of the most underrated goalkeepers in Europe.
And just how good is Mbappe?
He is a supersub right now, but he already has what it takes to play in Ligue 1 for his second professional season. He is very effective, scoring three goals and contributing five assists in just nine games. And he scored his first hat-trick Wednesday in League Cup. He is very fast, has technical abilities, a good vision and most of all he is only 17! If he stays in Monaco in the next months (which should happen), he can become the next Anthony Martial for Monaco.