It’s upon us. It’s the Sky Blues vs the Blues. It’s Man City vs Chelsea in this season’s Champions League Final! Two of England’s glamour clubs over the past decade will lock horns to determine who is Europe’s best. While the Citizens have set the benchmark for most of the season both domestically and in Europe, the Blues have caught the eye of many under Tuchel as his arrival has seen a significant positive turnaround including becoming a big game winning team. Notwithstanding City enter this match full of confidence following their recent form, Chelsea will have some optimism from the fact that they have beaten Pep’s Premier League Champions in their past two clashes. With that, let’s take a look at how some of the writers at The Chelsea Social see the season-ending clash between Man City vs Chelsea unfolding.
Man City vs Chelsea – Introduction
The huge blockbuster is among us. It’s finally here. It’s Man City vs Chelsea in the Champions League Final!
At the start of the campaign, who would’ve knew, that this huge finale would be contested by these two English powerhouse clubs, albeit they wear different shades of blue?
Let’s be crystal clear up front. Guardiola’s gargantuan Citizens represent the benchmark of professional football at present. They have dominated arguably the most difficult domestic league in the world, they have beaten some heavyweight opponents on the way to the final, and they’ve been a beacon of consistency for many seasons. In a lot of ways, they’re an evolution of Chelsea following their own golden era in the mid-late part of the 2000s under Mourinho and then Ancelotti. While the Blues have enjoyed trophies here and there under various managers, they’re success has also been offset by their poor Premier League and/or Champions League form during this time and it’s this topsy-turvy swinging that separates them from the relentlessly consistent Citizens. Again, City have set, and remain, the standard.
That said, it would be unfair and perhaps naïve to dismiss or at least not acknowledge the recent good form the Blues have had in both this season’s premier European competition, as well as against their more fancied opponents based on their two most recent appearances. While the sceptic might highlight the Citizens were not at full-strength, it’s worth noting that the Blues were also not able to field their regular XI. And, any notion that these games didn’t have any meaning to them is highly unlikely as Guardiola and his men are perennial winners who thrive on dominating their opponents and using that to foster a culture of sustainable success.
However, and equally of relevance, the Blues have looked shaky in recent games (including that horrendous 2-1 loss on the final day against Aston Villa). On the other hand, City, who had cruised to the finish line as champions demonstrated a winner’s performance with a 5-0 thumping of Everton.
In terms of this mammoth clash, there’s a real ‘David v Goliath’ feel to it, given both the large divergence in form for both teams, and considering the gulf in class and chemistry. Again though, Tuchel’s troops have enjoyed the Lion’s share of good fortune against Pep’s Premier League Champions and therefore the disconnect between desire and reality might not be as profound for Chelsea fans. In other words, it is arguable that the unbelievable triumph in 2012 against the German giants Bayern (in their own backyard) was an even tougher task, despite the high-calibre and character of the Blues at the time.
While there will be quality match-ups all across the park, and on the side lines between the two tactical masterminds, the key battle anecdotally lies in the middle of the pitch. If the Blues can suppress the possession-heavy City and limit the amount of dangerous in-roads in key areas near their goal, this could go a long way to frustrating the Citizens and keep their usually fluent attack at bay. Conversely, a strong midfield showing from the Londoners will also need to involve quick, sharp and precise movement when in possession and hopefully allow the pace of the Blues up front to exploit the space in behind City, given they’re expected to enjoy a lot of the ball in and around Chelsea’s half. At the heart of this is whether N’Golo Kante starts and can play to his full potential. Chelsea have many quality players, but few world class ones, but the humble and hard-working French Champion is one of them and his presence and influence can make or break Chelsea’s chances of holding the all-important trophy.
All in all, the biggest game in almost a decade awaits the Blues, and biggest in the history of the Citizens. Both have quality, both have high motivation, and both have game changers and winners that can bring jubilation and pandemonium to their winners.
The questions are:
- Which team will ‘turn up’?
- Which players will prove to be the difference for their team?
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what our team at The Chelsea Social think how this season’s Champions League Final between Man City vs Chelsea will play out.
We’ve made it, we’re here – it’s Man City vs Chelsea in the Champions League Final! What can I say? Am I nervous? Yes! Am I excited? Yes! Am I proud of our team for reaching this stage given all things considered? Absolutely!
Simply put, it’s the biggest game of not just our season, but almost the past decade! I’m still struggling to accept we are in the final of the Champions League! It’s been the most turbulent of seasons for the Blues and at times the mood has been quite sombre, particularly during the unfortunate departure of club legend of Frank Lampard. That said, since Tuchel has come in, he’s done a superb job in helping salvage our rapidly-diminishing season.
In terms of this fixture, it’s going to be a tantalising clash between two astute tacticians and some amazing players on both sides of the pitch. I believe it will be won or lost in the middle, and the game will come down to a moment of brilliance or a team capitalising on an error. For Chelsea’s sake, I hope it is us with either that special moment or the ones to pounce on a City blunder.
I have great difficulty in my mind coming up with the right team to get the job, but thankfully we have a wise manager who I have full faith in to pick not only the right starting side, but also the right subs (at the right time) to ensure we inflict a third consecutive defeat on the current Premier League Champions. I believe the key players for us will be the likes of Kante, Mendy (fingers crossed they’re both able to play), and also the likes of Werner and Mount to provide the necessary tempo and energy up front and in between the lines.
Overall, a tight and cagey affair awaits to draw a close on this unprecedented season. In the end, I respect and appreciate that City are the deserved favourites, but, I also have cautious optimism that we can (and will) get the job done on the basis that: 1) we have demonstrated recently that they City can be beaten, and, 2) we are Chelsea Football Club and we turn up to the games that really matter! ‘Here’s hoping at least!
Final Score: Manchester City 1 – 2 Chelsea
It’s Man City vs Chelsea. This is it, the Champions League final! It doesn’t get any bigger than this, a chance for us to win our second ever UCL crown as we travel to Portugal to take on Manchester City in an all-English final. Having secured top four last week by the skin of their teeth, Thomas Tuchel will be looking to end the season on a high by winning Europe’s elite competition which would set us up very nicely going into next season. Having missed out on the FA Cup two weeks ago, the Blues will be hoping to not be runners up this time round.
The past few weeks have been a disappointment to say the least with just one win from our last four games but it’s the UCL Final and form doesn’t mean much in these games so anything could happen on the night. Tuchel has already beaten his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola twice since his appointment winning in the FA Cup and picking up a dramatic three points at the Etihad in the League. However, this match is going to be even bigger than those two and this is the one that matters to both teams.
Man City have had an excellent season so far, lifting the Premier League and Carabao Cup, and have had another strong campaign under Guardiola as they have won their third league title with him at the helm, and a fifth overall for the club. There is no doubt City are one of the strongest sides in the world with plenty of quality and depth. This includes the likes of the talented Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne in attack, whilst defensively they have looked very solid after bringing in Ruben Dias last summer for £65million who has partnered well with John Stones as together they have been formidable this season. The list of top quality players goes on and it clear to see why they are favourites for the final.
That said, there is no reason why Chelsea cannot win the final though from looking at the squad we have, but, it is vital that we turn up otherwise City will fully capitalise and there would be no going back. The Champions League final is what our entire season comes down to and it would be a dream for both players and supporters to see us lift that trophy. I really do hope that we can do so though, it’ll be very close to say the least and I reckon it could go either way. However, I have the belief in us to win it and I see the match going to extra time and being decided by the odd goal.
Final Score: Manchester City 0 – 1 Chelsea (AET)
This is the big one. 3297 days after Chelsea held the Big Ears aloft for the very first time, they are back again. This time feels a little like last time. Not favoured to win the prize against a Manchester City side that are widely regarded as the finest in Europe. Possessing a quality team not without its faults, Chelsea are in a number of ways similar to the team that won in Munich. Anyone with any knowledge of tournament football, though, will know very well that any kind of history, form, statistics or explanation go out the window on the day of the match. As soon as the players cross that white line, it’s anybody’s game. It is only what you do on the pitch that counts.
The narratives going into this game are nonetheless intriguing. From a Chelsea perspective, this is head coach Thomas Tuchel’s chance at redemption after a Final loss with PSG last season. For his players, it is a chance to right a wrong after consecutive FA Cup Final defeats. More than that, it is the crowning moment in every one of these players’ club careers as they take the field in the biggest game in European club football. One word to summarise this final is: opportunity. It is an opportunity to win, to self-actualize, to achieve a dream and to become legends at Chelsea. How the final will pan out is anyone’s guess. City will be expansive. Guardiola will have every tactical trick up his sleeve to ensure he wins a third European Cup and first for City. But Tuchel is no slouch. He will set his team up to be very hard to break down, to be supremely focused and to be ready to pounce when the opportunity presents itself.
As a fan, I have every confidence in Chelsea’s defence. What worries me is the attack. But this game is different to Arsenal at home in the league. It is unlike Aston Villa away, Leeds away or United at home where the score line wasn’t troubled. This is the game that matters, the game where Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech dare to dream. Hopes and dreams bring out the best in people and, most of all, players. So, on the biggest of all days, I back them to make the difference.
Final Score: Manchester City 1 – 2 Chelsea
One last bow. I just want Chelsea to summon up the courage and confidence of 2012 again and produce a top performance. Manchester City are an attacking juggernaut and Pep Guardiola is a top manager. Chelsea once again are the underdogs. Both teams have qualified on merit. Both teams have brilliant players. Mason Mount vs Phil Foden will no doubt be the dominant narrative peddled tonight by TV stations. However, there are plenty of matchwinners on either side. Christian Pulisic, Kevin De Bruyne, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ferran Torres, Sergio Aguero, Kai Havertz, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva. I’m just hoping for a good match and a spectacle that demonstrates the best of English football. What I don’t want to see is a European Final decided by a nonsense VAR call, or questionable refereeing.
Sadly, I can’t see the Blues from London winning this time around though. It feels like it is set up perfectly for Manchester City to collect their first trophy with the big ears and truly cement Guardiola’s legacy at the club. Not to mention also perfectly completing the Kevin De Bruyne arc after he left West London all those years ago.
The challenge is set to Thomas Tuchel, Cesar Azpilicueta, Mason Mount et al. Prove me wrong and make Europe the perfect shade of Royal Blue again.
Final Score: Manchester City 2 – 1 Chelsea (AET)
Written by Matt, Dan, Rob and RJ
Edited by RJ Bonaccorsi (@RJ_Goodthings)
Follow us on: