Manchester City are aiming to win the Champions League for the first time in their history when they face fellow English Premier League club Chelsea in this year’s final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
Pep Guardiola’s side started a 15-game winning streak in the league after their Champions League group stage was over, which essentially wrapped up the Premier League title weeks before the end of the season.
Chelsea have been one of the few teams to have beaten the Citizens this season, and they’ve done it twice in the past month. Firstly, they eliminated them with a 1-0 win in the FA Cup semi-finals, which ended a chance of an historic quadruple.
With neither team playing their strongest XI, Chelsea won 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League at the start of May.
Despite this, Manchester City are currently 1/1 favourites to win the Champions League final in 90 minutes according to captaingambling.com.
Guardiola has not won the Champions League since his second success with Barcelona in 2011 and this is the trophy City have been most eager to win since their first Premier League title back in 2012.
Thomas Tuchel can’t make any mistakes as Chelsea manager at the moment, taking them back into the top four, reaching the FA Cup final and surprising many by taking the Blues to their second-ever Champions League final since replacing Frank Lampard.
City don’t have any injuries currently but do have a couple of Premier League fixtures to play between now and the trip to Turkey at the end of the month.
This could give Guardiola time to get Sergio Aguero back to full match fitness and Raheem Sterling back in form to give him more options to choose between for his final starting XI of the season.
Mateo Kovacic is the only current absentee for Chelsea. The Croatian midfielder has been sidelined for the past 10 games with a hamstring injury, leaving him a doubt for the final.
Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount have all been excellent in the middle of the park in recent weeks in his absence.
Man City (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo; Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne; Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden.
Chelsea (3-5-2): Edouard Mendy; Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger; Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell; Kai Havertz, Timo Werner.
Man City attack vs Chelsea defence
Chelsea have largely coped with City’s forwards in their two recent meetings but to do it in the Champions League final would be the ultimate. Guardiola has a wealth of talent to pick from, both in the starting XI and off the bench.
A front three of Foden, Mahrez and Silva could be the choice, but Aguero and Sterling still have a chance to impress in the final Premier League games of the season.
De Bruyne has also played up top this season, but Jesus would be a surprise selection.
Chelsea attack vs Man City defence
Dias has single-handedly improved City’s defence this season compared. The Portuguese centre-back has been a great leader, but don’t forget that both John Stones and Kyle Walker could start the final and are prone to mistakes.
Although Werner and Havertz don’t have a huge number of goals in their debut campaign with Chelsea, the German pair have seen a number of chances this season. They only need to score one at the end of May.
Kevin De Bruyne vs N’Golo Kante
Chelsea will have a near-impossible mission of keeping City’s attack quiet in Turkey. The Citizens have had more efforts in their last two meetings, 27 shots in all.
But they’ve limited the number of clear-cut chances and held them to one goal in those 180 minutes combined.
In order to limit the great chances that the favourites get they will be wanting to limit the space that former player De Bruyne gets in and around the penalty area. This is likely to be Kante’s job.
The last two meetings between these two make you wonder if City’s current price will increase between now and the final given that Chelsea have come out on top on both occasions.
Any injuries to either side between now and then may have a further say but the Blues have every reason to go into the final full of confidence.
This game will be decided by a moment of magic and City edge their opponents in the number of match-winners they have.
Prediction: Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea.
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