Know Your Enemy: Manchester City

With thanks to Ray (@RayCityFanTV1) for his insight and comments about Manchester City.

Introduction

Let’s get the 3rd party insults out of the way right from the off. Yes, it’s a high profile match between two of Europe’s biggest spenders. Two of the nouveau riche. A pair of sugar daddy clubs.

Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring the goal to win Manchester City the title.
Several weeks after Sergio Aguero won Manchester City their 1st Premier League title… Image Credit: AFP.

Years ago, when the ‘big’ clubs were winning the European Cup/Champions League it wasn’t considered dirty to be big spenders. 

Chelsea celebrate winning the Champions League Final.
Chelsea claimed their 1st Champions League triumph. Image Credit: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images.

Times move on. 

And now we have a club that has been destined to arrive on the big European stage ever since Sheikh Mansour bestowed his untold support on the ‘noisy neighbours’ from East Manchester. It’s taken a while but the trajectory has been measured and, after flattering to deceive on many previous occasions, it was bound to happen that City would be here eventually. 

Recent Encounters

Chelsea have been at the big table for a few years longer and have more European silverware to show for their ruble. Even though they have this propensity to move managers on, on a regular basis, they always manage to come up smelling of roses and win trophies.

Manchester City’s two recent defeats at the hands of the Stamford Bridge outfit could be seen as handing Chelsea a significant advantage but I’m not so certain. Defeats can affect morale, so I’m all for winning matches even if they aren’t deemed meaningful or important. Having said that, City fans were gutted to be outgunned at Wembley in the FA Cup Semi-Final. 

We were already odds on for the league and in the final of the League Cup against that spursiest of sides, Spurs. 

The narrow Champions League win against Dortmund meant City had to be more cautious against Chelsea, saving players for the 2nd leg, and making numerous changes and playing many players who, though individually decent, didn’t make for a good enough team. The chance of an unprecedented quadruple faded once the line-ups were exchanged at Wembley.

Hakim Ziyech’s goal ended Manchester City’s Quadruple hopes at Wembley. Image Credit: Andy Hooper/NMC Pool.

Chelsea will be buoyed by winning in Manchester, though that too was against a mostly second string XI. (Editor’s Note: Chelsea made more changes from their team that played in the UCL midweek).

City fans will be buoyed by the fact that the Citizens made so many changes and they’ll think back to the result and fantastic performance with half a fit squad back in January. It’s that version of City they are hoping turns up in Porto.

City’s View of Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel has presided over an amazing turnaround since the sacking of club hero Frank Lampard. Chelsea already had a stack of highly talented players; they just weren’t performing at a high level often enough. 

Miserly at the back, attacking with devastating pace through the middle and down the flanks, they’ve been a tough proposition for most of the second half of the season.

Youri Tielemans scores the winner in the 2021 FA Cup Winner.
Youri Tielemans’s stunner ensured Chelsea did not win the FA Cup. Image Credit: Getty Images.

And then it all stuttered towards the end. That’s got to be a worry for Chelsea. Relying on Leicester being bigger bottlers to sneak that fourth Champions League spot and losing the FA Cup Final to that same East Midland side.

Manchester City vs Chelsea – Final Prospects

When Chelsea humbled Real Madrid in the semi-final, they looked in such control and seemed to be sneaking under the radar the way the press and media were drooling over a City side that kept Mbappe and Neymar quite as they comfortably won their Champions League tie. I thought they looked better equipped and were playing with such confidence.

Chelsea overcame Real Madrid to book their date in the final with Manchester City.
Chelsea dispatched Real Madrid with relative ease. Image Credit: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC Via Getty Images.

If that Chelsea side turn up with the same attitude, I can see them getting the better of City in a tight contest. 

If the true City turns up, the side that made the league a walkover after a dodgy start, and  Chelsea aren’t on it, then we could see a repeat of the scoreline from the turn of the year and City will win their first big ‘un.

Manchester City: Predicted XI

I think most observers will agree with my selection, though Pep is known for a spot of overthinking and may throw in a surprise or two.

Lineup produced using homecrowd.io.

Manchester City Predicted XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Bernardo, Gundogan; Foden, de Bruyne, Mahrez.

And for a score prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea.

The Chelsea Social would again like to thank Ray for the time he took producing this preview. You can follow him here and check out City Fan TV’s content here.

Also, check out our other articles on the 2021 Champions League Final.

Edited by Rob Pratley

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