CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL ODDS: Manchester City -114| Draw +240 | Chelsea +360
WHEN: Saturday, May 29th, 3PM EST
WHERE: Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal
WATCH: CBS, Paramount+, Univision & TUDN in the US
Manchester City and Chelsea meet this Saturday in an all-English Champions League final.
City will be hoping they can lift the trophy for the first time in their history, while Chelsea will want to add a second after winning the competition in 2012.
For the first time, USMNT’s will have representation with Christian Pulišić and Zack Steffen. The former will be the only one to make it onto the pitch unless Ederson picks up an injury or is sent off.
MANCHESTER CITY PROJECTED STARTING XI
I’m pretty confident Pep Guardiola will go with the same starting lineup, formation, and tactics he picked in the semi-final first leg against PSG. He was worried about Kylian Mbappé and Neymar getting in behind and their pace on the counter. Pep will have similar concerns with Timo Werner and Pulišić if he gets the nod.
The only position I’m unsure about is left back with Oleksandr Zinchenko, a viable option. I think Pep will pick João Cancelo because he’s stronger tactically, and Chelsea will sit deep and concede possession. Cancelo can move into central midfield and help his side control the center of the pitch with his passing ability.
CHELSEA PROJECTED STARTING XI
Thomas Tuchel will go with the same starting lineup he picked against Real Madrid in the semi-final second leg. He will instruct his team to sit deep and make it difficult for City to play through them like he has done since he took charge.
There will be calls from this side of the Atlantic for Pulišić to start, but I think he will have a bigger impact from the bench. I’m a massive fan of Kai Havertz. He will offer more in the opening stages with his hold-up play, ability to play between the lines, and can drop into midfield.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL BETTING TIPS
The Champions League final is the biggest game in club football, and it takes a lot of luck to make it this far.
The competition is spread over nine months, from September to May. So much can happen in that time with injuries, January signings, and a change in management all capable of transforming a club’s fortunes. Throw in the two-legged knockout rounds, away goals rule, a dip or rise in form from a star player, suspensions, VAR, and it’s easy to see so many factors come into play.
Some of the greats of the game, like Fabio Cannavaro, Laurant Blanc, Pavel Nedved (suspended), and Francesco Totti, never played in a final, let alone won the competition. Only two players featuring in this year’s showpiece have played in one. Ilkay Gündogan for Borussia Dortmund back in 2013 and Thiago Silva for PSG last season at the age of 35; both lost to Bayern Munich. Mateo Kovačić watched on from Real Madrid’s bench when they won it in 2017 and 2018.
The point I’m trying to make is this could be the only chance these players ever get to play in a Champions League. Pundits and fans are saying Chelsea have a ‘free hit’ because they didn’t expect to be here. The club and the players also can’t expect they’ll get another chance to play in one and have to seize this opportunity. The same goes for City. For all of their brilliance in recent years, this is the first time they have made it this far.
Both sets of players will be desperate to win this game but at the same time won’t want to lose it in the opening stages either, and it’s the same with managers. Tuchel knows the pain of losing a final after his PSG side lost 1-0. Guardiola, the greatest manager of the modern game, hasn’t featured in one since 2011.
That will lead to the opening 45 minutes being very cagey. Tuchel will instruct his side to sit deep, and Guardiola will tell his players not to leave themselves open to the counter. They will both start cautiously and want to feel each other out. For my first bet, I am recommending a scoreless first half at +150.
I think we will see more of the same in the second half. Both are brilliant tacticians, can make up to 5 substitutions, and have quality options available from the bench. They will make tweaks, and naturally, the game will open up in the later stages, but I have a feeling this will be decided in extra time.
Back the opening 90 minutes to end in a Draw.
Betting Tips – Correct Score – First Half 0-0 +150 | Money Line (Regular Time) Draw +240
WHERE TO BET THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL IN THE US
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer in New Jersey, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.