CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL ODDS: Man City -125| Draw +240 | Chelsea +380
WHEN: Saturday, May 29th, 3:00pm EST
WHERE: Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal
WATCH: Paramount+ in the US
Nine years after winning their first UEFA Champions League title, Chelsea have another date with destiny as they face Premier League rivals Man City. The Citizens recently won their fifth Premier League title – but ironically play in their first-ever UCL final.
Pep Guardiola boasts a strong record in CL finals – having won twice in as many games. Thomas Tuchel lost the final with PSG last year. Like 2012, Chelsea has to pull off the ultimate underdog’s story.
The Blues have to be absolutely flawless – both defensively & offensively – to stop the City juggernaut from completing their ‘treble’. If Chelsea are at their counter-attacking best & can hold off against City’s onslaught, they should end up lifting their second UCL crown.
Manchester City Likely XI
Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Bernardo, Foden
The Citizens have a fully fit squad & should continue their recently acquired tradition of playing without a no.9.
Chelsea Likely XI
Mendy, James, Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, Chilwell, Kante, Kovacic, Mount, Pulisic, Werner
Edouard Mendy & N’Golo Kante should both recover from injury scares.
Man City vs Chelsea Champions League Final Preview
At this point, not many fans are quite sure exactly how Chelsea progressed to the Champions League final. They BARELY managed to make the PL top-4 (thanks to Tottenham), play a poor brand of soccer & just grind their way to results.
It’s almost like a mirror image of their 2012 campaign where they had a relatively disappointing season – but rose through to win the UCL against all odds. They defeated favorites Bayern Munich then. The Blues now hope to get the job done against this season’s favorites, Man City.
Since becoming Chelsea boss – Thomas Tuchel has had Pep Guardiola’s number. He’s defeated him twice – including once in the FA Cup semi-final. The German gaffer aims to make it 3 in-a-row in the biggest game between these two sides.
City might dominate possession – but will afford chances to Chelsea, especially on the break. The Blues have a lot of pace to hurl through on goal in certain chances – but have to improve their final product. The three-lunged Kante must turn into machine mode to bully City’s midfielders & also get the ball forward – while Mateo Kovacic must be more creative with his passing.
Christian Pulisic becomes the first USA International to play in a Champions League final. Pulisic aims to make his mark by torment the defenders with his brilliant dribbling, but has to get his final passes or shots absolutely perfect to influence goals.
Chelsea’s Player of the Year Mason Mount is guaranteed to play with a fire in his belly. He’ll be tasked to create chances with his brilliant set-pieces, final passes & also make good use of his unpredictable movement to turn up in scoring areas & finish off chances. Timo Werner’s had a very mixed-bag of a season, but can redeem himself in this.
Werner can trouble City’s defenders with his impressive pacey runs but has to improve his decision-making & shooting ability to get anything past Ederson. Chelsea have been guilty of wasting too many chances this season – but if they waste any against City – it could end their UCL dreams.
Of course, the story of Chelsea’s season has been a case of their defence being the best form of attack. Indeed, under Tuchel, the Blues have shown incredible resilience to frustrate the best of sides. This one last time, their backline has to come up with another colossal defensive effort if Chelsea aims to get one over City.
Thiago Silva plays his second successive UCL final. After tasting defeat with PSG last season, he’s playing for redemption this time around. The leader in Chelsea’s backline, Silva needs to maintain utmost concentration & composure to cut out City’s attacks as well as keep them from getting shots on target.
Antonio Rudiger’s the wildest, aggressive centre-back in Chelsea’s backline and has to use that nature to clamp into the City attackers. Cesar Azpilicueta needs to act like a leader – putting in an extra effort to tighten up the backline’s shape.
Reece James & Ben Chilwell will both be tasked to march forward through the wings & run at City’s vulnerable wing-backs. Both full-backs have to produce their best crosses to create big chances. Just like their fellow defenders, they also must work their socks off & be at their sharpest to neutralize City’s threat through the wide areas.
The Blues can’t afford to make one wrong move because City at in deadly form right now & can punish them for the tiniest of errors. Phil Foden’s got an unpredictable spark like no other. With his driving runs & brilliant finishing, the ‘false no.9’ can create a riot if indulged too much.
Riyad Mahrez’s been City’s hero in the UCL. With his trickery & ability to slick finishing – he’s another to keep an eye on. Bernardo Silva & Kevin de Bruyne are both the Citizens’ create forces. Silva’s clever movement & link-up play can cause discreet trouble – while De Bruyne’s incredible final product can carve open the best of defences.
Then there’s also the unpredictable IIlkay Gundogan who can pop up out of nowhere to score goals. While Chelsea’s backline has to maintain an unbreakable shape, Mendy is guaranteed to face trouble. The Senegalese has the chance to etch his name in Chelsea’s history books with a big performance – as the Blues need his clutch saves to keep them in the game.
Chelsea won’t mind an ugly, lethargic win as long as it wins them the trophy. But to do so, they have to close all the gaps for City to maneuver through, cut out their final passes & cause them to self-implode. If the Blues are able to do so and capitalize on their own chances, another UCL trophy could be inbound to London.
Both these sides are defensively very strong – so this could end up being a cagey affair. I think both will score – but City’s current form might give them an edge. I’m going for a 2-1 win over City.
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.