Chelsea will travel to Porto to take on a formidable Manchester City squad assembled by Pep Guardiola. The City managerial mastermind is arguably the best manager in the game and Tuchel will have to be equal to Pep in this tactical chess game.
Chelsea have a complicated history against Manchester City. The Blues have won their fair share but also have received some humiliating defeats. The two standout defeats were the 1-0 loss at City with Antonio Conte and the utter thrashing with Maurizio Sarri in a 6-0 loss. The results have become more variable in recent times, so before the Champions League Final against City, lets review the previous five fixtures and results the Blues have against the Cityzens.
Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea, November 23, 2019
Manchester City were the reigning Premier League Champions coming into this match and the Blues were up to the test early on. Frank Lampard oversaw this match for his first Premier League battle against Pep. Lampard lined up the XI in a 4-3-3. The starters were Kepa, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Emerson, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Willian, Pulisic, and Abraham. This was the first Premier League battle against the Cityzens for Tomori and Pulisic as they faced the massively talented and accomplished players of City.
The Blues started off well as Mateo Kovacic created an assist to N’golo Kante who slotted it past Ederson to give the visiting Blues an early 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. However, this was short lived. The Cityzens roared back in the first half quickly found an equalizer through Kevin De Bruyne in the 29th minute. This came from a deflected shot off Kurt Zouma and was enough to beat Kepa. 1-1 score and the match was fully on now. Unfortunately, the Blues were not up to the task as Sergio Aguero hit the crossbar and then Rodri assisted Riyad Mahrez in the 37th minute to give City the 2-1 lead going into halftime. This would be all that City would need to see off Chelsea in this match.
The scoreline could have been worse as Raheem Sterling had a goal disallowed. The final stats from this match showed that the Blues beat City in possession with 53.26%, yet the Blues only managed 2 shots on target. The final shot the Blues had on target in the match was through Kante’s goal in the 21st minutes. City registered 15 shots to the Blues 11, four shots on target, had 4 times as many corner kicks, and committed significantly less fouls than Chelsea. A deserved defeat for Chelsea as Mahrez was crowned Man of the Match.
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City, June 25, 2020
Project Restart was the reason for this delay. Lampard finally got his chance at revenge against Guardiola at home in Stamford Bridge, although it was an empty home match played without the support of the crowd due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lampard employed the 4-3-3 again to face off against City’s 4-3-3, but did change the starting XI from the first match in which the Blues lost 2-1 away. The XI was Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso, Barkley, Kante, Mount, Willian, Pulisic, and Giroud. City came into the match needing a win to prevent Liverpool from being crowned 2019/2020 Premier League Champions, although Liverpool winning the title was a bit of a foregone conclusion.
The scoring was opened when Christian Pulisic turned into Captain America and performed some solo heroics. He received the ball around the midfield line, and with an expert level of acceleration, deacceleration, and successive, explosive acceleration, beat the Manchester City backline on his own for a breakaway goal to open the scoring and give the Blues the lead. This was a goal of the highest order and meant City were staring down the barrel of losing their Premier League title. However, the match was far from over at this point. Kevin De Bruyne again haunted the Blues by finding the equalizer through an expertly taken free kick goal in the 55th minute of the second half. City continued their charge moments later as Sterling hit the post after a counterattack move. The end to end match did not let up as Pulisic again exploited the City backline and fired a shot that was saved off the line in a last gasp effort from Kyle Walker.
The decisive factor came in the 77th minute when Fernandinho received a straight red card for using his hand to clear a shot attempt from Pulisic. The VAR was called upon to review and the correct decision was given: red card to Fernandinho and penalty kick to Chelsea. Willian stepped up to the spot and converted the chance to give the Blues the 2-1 lead, and that was enough to end City’s title reign and give a crucial 3 points to the Blues in their assault for a top four.
The Blues relied on counterattacking football to win this match, as they only had 35% of possession. However, Chelsea made the most of their chances on the ball by registering 15 shots with 10 on target, which was significantly better than City’s 11 shots with only 2 on target. Christian Pulisic was named Man of the Match and deservedly so as he was electric throughout and caused many problems for City.
Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City, January 3, 2021
Frank Lampard came into this match as Blues manager with a monumental task starting to form. The performances and results had begun to slip, but luckily City were not in the greatest of form ahead of this fixture. However, City produced a clinical attacking display away from home and collected the three points. Lampard lined up the Blues in a 4-3-3 once again to face City. The XI was Mendy, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell, Kovacic, Kante, Mount, Ziyech, Pulisic, and Werner. To make matters worse, City played this match with several first team starters unavailable, yet still easily dispatched as strong Chelsea lineup. The Blues were objectively poor and seemed to lack all answers for the onslaught that ensued at Stamford Bridge.
The match was over in the span of a 16-minute stretch in the first half. Manchester City opened the scoring with Gundogan firing home a low shot off of an assist from Phil Foden in the 18th minute. Three minutes later, Phil Foden got another goal involvement as he finished off a first-time shot from a Kevin De Bruyne assist. 2-0 City in the 21st minute and the Blues were unraveling. It took only 13 more minutes for the Cityzens to put this match to bed, with a goal once again by Kevin De Bruyne, who had now scored in his last 3 matches against Chelsea. Chelsea faced a City squad without Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson, Ferran Torres, and Eric Garcia due to COVID-19 protocols, and the Cityzens had not played a match in eight days prior to the thumping at Stamford Bridge. It was a poor performance all around from Chelsea and showed just how much better City were on the day with a depleted squad. This left Chelsea adrift and with many issues to sort out if they wanted to achieve a Top 4 finish by season’s end.
Chelsea failed to do much of anything with their 55% possession of the ball and had half as many shots as City did (9 Chelsea shots to 18 City shots). The Blues had one measly goal in the 92nd minute through Callum Hudson-Odoi from an assist by Kai Havertz. The Blues only had 2 shots on target in the match. Kevin De Bruyne was named Man of the Match.
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City, April 17, 2021
The 2021 FA Cup Semi-final at Wembley saw in-form Chelsea and City squads square off in Tuchel’s first match in England against Pep Guardiola. Both squads saw some rotation in this match, and Tuchel lined up the Chelsea team in a 3-4-2-1 formation. The XI consisted of Kepa, Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell, Ziyech, Mount, and Werner. City lined up with Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, Rodri, Torres, De Bruyne, Sterling, and Jesus in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The match saw a tactical battle throughout as the Blues and Cityzens were not overly committed to attacking play in this match. This was sort of expected with a berth to the FA Cup Final on the line. The first half ended with Chelsea controlling the opening and then City growing into stature as it got closer to the halftime whistle. A deserved 0-0 scoreline at the break.
After the break, Hakim Ziyech scored but had the goal ruled out for offsides. He then stepped up once again in the 55th minute and scored the eventual winner that made it 1-0 to the Blues. There was not much else attacking play in this match, and luckily the Blues were resolute and determined enough to see off City. Kepa made a great save late on as he palmed away a stoppage time headed attempt from Rodri and secured the win for Chelsea. Overall, City were largely slow and ineffective throughout the match and Chelsea were the better side on the day. Hakim Ziyech was rightfully awarded the Man of the Match and fired the Blues into the FA Cup Final.
Manchester City 1-2 Chelsea, May 8, 2021
Chelsea traveled to Manchester to again face off against Manchester City for the third time in 2020/2021 season. This match came near the end of the year for the Premier League and Chelsea were still largely needing points to continue to assure their Top 4 finish. Tuchel lined up the Blues once again in a 3-4-2-1 formation. The lineup consisted of Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, James, Gilmour, Kante, Alonso, Pulisic, Ziyech, and Werner.
The first half of this match was a near disaster for Chelsea. City opened the scoring on a break through that saw Christensen miss the ball and then pull up injured with a hamstring injury. Sterling was able to slot the ball past Mendy to make it 1-0. It could have been much worse soon before the half time whistle. Gilmour committed a foul inside the box and the penalty was awarded to City. Up stepped Sergio Aguero to try to beat Mendy in goal. Aguero tried an audacious Panenka penalty kick and Mendy was true to the task and easily saved the penalty attempt that went straight down the middle. Chelsea were fortunate to go into half time only down one goal.
Into the second half, and Chelsea found themselves later on and were able to take control of the match. Chelsea got on the score sheet through an assist by Azpilicueta to Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccan wizard once again found a goal against the Cityzens. Into stoppage time of the 2nd half, the Blues found the winner through cult hero Marcos Alonso from an assist by Timo Werner. The Blues were able to see out the 1-2 win, and picked up a massive three points for their final league standing in the Premier League table.
Written by Travis Flock (@Crossroads_CFC)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
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