Manchester City and Chelsea meet in an all-English Champions League Final on Saturday night.
Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel will face off for the ultimate prize in European club football as the Premier League rivals battle it out in Porto for the European Cup.
Man City are looking to complete a treble after already lifting the Premier League and Carabao Cup this season, while Chelsea could end a dramatic campaign on a high.
This is the one trophy which has eluded Guardiola so far at City, and winning it would further cement his credentials as the best coach in the business. As for Tuchel, he knows the pain of losing this match after seeing Bayern Munich beat his PSG side last season – and he will be desperate to avoid a similar fate here.
The Champions League Final had initially been due to take place at Attaturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul. However, Turkey was added to the UK’s ‘red list’ for travel following a rise in coronavirus cases.
Given that decision, UEFA considered moving the game to Wembley – but it was not possible to earn the necessary quarantine exemptions for sponsors, VIPs and broadcasters from the Government for an all-English final on home soil.
Therefore, the final was moved to Portugal, with Porto’s Estadio do Dragao hosting the match. Both teams will have 6,000 tickets each for fans, with 20,000 people in total expected to attend the match.
Form Guide: Manchester City
The 2021 season is arguably the most successful one in history for Manchester City. The team has already won the Premier League in a dominant fashion, to which they’ve added the EFL/Carabao Cup trophy as well. Now they are preparing for their first-ever Champions League final against a team that finished 19 points behind them in the league. So, the team is probably optimistic about their chances of winning the Champions League and a very rare treble.
Ahead of the Champions League final, Man City is in solid form. They’ve won five of their last eight matches in the Premier League, even though it was already clear that the title is theirs more than a month ago. Furthermore, their last match in the league was an impressive 5-0 win over Everton, so the team is certainly highly confident at the moment.
Form Guide: Chelsea
It’s been a turbulent week for The Blues. It started over the weekend with the FA Cup final, which ended in heartbreak after Youri Tielemans scored a wonderful goal to take the trophy to Leicester. Only a few days later, the same teams faced off in the Premier League and Chelsea got a crucial 2-1 win to overtake Leicester and get them into the top 4.
In the last round, Chelsea needed at least a draw in their away game with Aston Villa to secure a spot in the Champions League for next season, but the team lost 2-1. However, Leicester also lost their game, so Chelsea will certainly play in the Champions League again regardless of what happens in the final.
So, it’s obvious that Chelsea has been a bit inconsistent lately. Including the loss in the FA Cup final, the team has lost three of their last four games. That being said, they have won five of their last eight Premier League games, beating their upcoming opponents at their own stadium in the process.
How the match could go
Even most Chelsea fans would accept that City are favourites to win in Porto, but both sides have more than enough quality to lift the trophy on the day. Tuchel has marked himself out as something of a specialist against other top managers, but Chelsea’s limp FA Cup Final defeat and subsequent League defeat at Villa Park will be a big concern.
With neither side likely to start a recognised centre forward, it could well come down to which defence deals with fluid attacks better – and City have been imperious in that regard this term. When Chelsea have scored first this season in all competitions, they have 17 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. Manchester City have won 41 of the 45 games in which they score first. Safe to say, as is the case in most finals, the first goal is going to be huge.
Tip: Manchester City to win the Champions League
Manchester City obviously have a better run than Chelsea in the Champions League and Chelsea’s limp show in the FA Cup final has left their fans with fears going to this game. Chelsea’s defensive mettle has disappeared in recent matches and three losses in the last four games paints a grim picture. Manchester City have been better defensively, and even at their worst, the attack has functioned well, so we will back them to win this. Also, Pep Guardiola has already lost twice to Chelsea this season and we don’t see it happening three times in a row. Bet365 have 1.83 odds, Bet9ja have 1.90 and 1xbet have 1.93.
Over 2.5 goals
As we already mentioned, both teams have relied on their defence to reach their goals this season and to reach the Champions League final. However, Man City has also been impressive offensively in the Premier League since their matches averaged 3.03 goals per game. Chelsea has an average of 2.47 goals per game, but four of their last eight league games have gone over 2.5 total goals. In addition to this, four of the last five games between these two teams have gone over 2.5 total goals. And while we expect this game to end in a draw, in which case 0-0 or 1-1 are more likely results than 2-2 or something even crazier, we also like the chances of this game going over 2.5 total goals. Bet9ja have 2.22 odds, Bet365 have 2.30 and 1xbet have 2.38.
Both teams to score: Yes
It’s normal to think that both teams could score in this game. We know that it’s Chelsea’s defence that got them this far in the Champions League and that Man City’s defence has been outstanding since the arrival of Ruben Dias, but all of this won’t matter much in the final, especially if we see a goal in the first half. Furthermore, four of the last five matches between Man City and Chelsea ended with both teams scoring and it’s an obvious trend in their matches. With that in mind, we expect to see the same on Saturday in Porto. Bet9ja have 1.97 odds, Bet365 have 2.00 and 1xbet have 2.10 odds.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Manchester City)
Riyad Mahrez didn’t see a single minute of action for Man City in the Citizens’ relatively recent pair of reverses to Chelsea, though the Algerian winger should be one of the first names on the team-sheet in Porto. The 30-year-old was City’s match-defining hero in their double-legged triumph over PSG in the semi-finals when he notched three times over two games to help fire the Manchester giants to glory against the Parisians. Riyad Mahrez has four in his last three Champions League appearances for Manchester City. The Algerian winger is in top form at the moment and has already proven he can deliver on the big stage as well. He could be one key man to score a decisive goal. Bet365 have 3.40 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have 3.90.
Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian has been a key part of City’s Champions League campaign, having scored a lot of crucial goals for his side. He has scored twice in his last four Champions League games and he’ll be looking to deliver once again in the biggest game of his career. Bet365 have 3.20 odds while Bet9ja have 4.35.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Chelsea)
Hakim Ziyech scored in both of Chelsea’s recent wins over City but the man most Blues fans will be looking to as a potential match-winner is Mason Mount. The midfielder has had an excellent campaign and has quickly become as integral to Thomas Tuchel’s side as he will be to Gareth Southgate’s England team at the Euros. Mount has had at least one shot on target in his last five matches for Chelsea and scored in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid. Bet365 have 5.00 odds while Bet9ja have 5.50.
Despite all of the criticism at the German, one can’t dispute that he’s always been one of the most likely players on the pitch to score for Chelsea. In a game where City could dominate possession and Chelsea would look to make the most of their few chances, Timo Werner could come in as a key player and his pace could also come in handy as well. Bet365 have 4.00 odds while Bet9ja have 4.50.