Manchester City vs Chelsea: UCL Preview – Why not us?

Introduction

The night is near, under the floodlights for one last time this season, Chelsea will take on the Premier League champions Manchester City in a high stakes all English Champions League final at the Estadio do Dragao, home of Porto FC at Portugal. Chelsea have had a dramatic end to their Premier League campaign finishing fourth and confirming Champions’league football for next season with some external aid despite losing to Aston Villa. Chelsea
also had the opportunity to win the FA cup final vs Leicester but came short at Wembley It’s Manchester City vs Chelsea and a Champion must be crowned.

Manchester City on the other hand have enjoyed success this season. The Citizens lifted the Carabao cup earlier vs Spurs and won the Premier league this season. Pep Guardiola will want to finish his season on a high with a win tonight and finally bring that Champions League trophy home to the Etihad. Thomas Tuchel came agonizingly close last year with PSG last year, but he tasted defeat. The German will look to put that away tonight and start fresh
with Chelsea. Who will win? Who wants it more? Its Chelsea vs Manchester City, Tuchel vs
Pep Guardiola. Who will lift the 2021 Champions League trophy? It’s all to play for in a few hours from now.

Manchester City Vs Chelsea: Modern Day Giants

Head-to-Head

  • Games Played: 168
  • Chelsea win:70
  • Games drawn: 39
  • Chelsea losses: 59

Chelsea and Manchester City meet for the fourth time in 2021. Even though Manchester
City won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge,
Chelsea came good against the champions twice, in the FA
cup semi-finals
and also in a crucial league match towards the death of the season. Chelsea
last won three successive games against Man City between 2005 and 2009.
In European competition, Chelsea and Manchester City’s only previous meetings came in
the 1970/71 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final – Chelsea won both legs 1-0 to progress to the
final, where we beat Real Madrid after a replay.

Chelsea have also played Man City in two previous finals. The sides met in the 2018/19
Carabao Cup final, with City winning 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw at Wembley. The
other was the inaugural Full Members’ Cup in 1985/86 at the old Wembley Stadium which
Chelsea won 5-4 thanks to a David Speedie hat-trick and a brace from Colin Lee.

Hakim Ziyech scored the winner against Manchester City at Wembley. (Photo by ADAM DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Hakim Ziyech scored the winner against Manchester City at Wembley. (Photo by ADAM DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Numbers

Chelsea will play their 22nd final tonight under the 18 year ownership of Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea will be playing their seventh major European final tonight. The only defeat in the
previous six was in the Champions League final against Man Utd in 2008, which was decided
by a penalty shoot-out. Chelsea have reached the final of a major competition in five
consecutive seasons for the first time in the clubs history (2017 FA Cup, 2018 FA Cup, 2019
Carabao Cup and Europa League, 2020 FA Cup and 2021 FA Cup and Champions League).

Thiago Silva was captain of the PSG side that lost in last season’s final. Thiago Silva is the
only Chelsea player today who has started a Champions league final previously. Mateo
Kovacic
was part of the Real Madrid side who completed the historic Champions league hat-trick.


If Cesar Azpilicueta is involved, he will make his 10th Chelsea appearance in a major final.
Only two players have featured in more (Petr Cech, Frank Lampard). Thomas Tuchel
becomes the first manager to reach back-to-back finals with two different clubs in
Champions League and European Cup history. Edouard Mendy has kept eight clean sheets in
11 games in this season’s Champions League, with only two goalkeepers ever keeping nine
in a single season – Santiago Canizares for Valencia in 2000/01 and Keylor Navas for Real
Madrid in 2015/16.

In his entire managerial career, Pep Guardiola has lost more matches against Chelsea in all
competitions than any other club (seven Losses). Pep Guardiola has won 14 of his 15 cup finals
when he has been in charge. His only defeat was over 10 years ago against Jose Mourinho’s
Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final. Manchester City will play in their first ever Champions
league final tonight. Sergio Aguero can make his 390th appearance for Manchester City if he
starts tonight. This will also be the third all English final played in the Champions league.

Manchester City Vs Chelsea: Road to the Final

Chelsea

Group Stage

When the group was drawn all the way back in October, Chelsea fans were confident that qualification to the knockout stage of the competition would be pretty certain.

Despite drawing the opening game of the group stage 0-0 to Sevilla, the next four games against the other opponents Krasnodar, Rennes and the reverse game against Sevilla ended in victory, meaning the final group game against Krasnodar at Stamford Bridge was one that saw the Blues needing at least a draw to top the group, with knockout qualification already secured. Frank Lampard fielded a rather rotated side, as the Blues drew 1-1, ensuring Chelsea topped Group E with 14 points from a possible 18.

Round of 16

When you finish top of your Champions League group, it is widely thought you get an easier opponent in the Round of 16 than if you finish your group in 2nd. When the draw confirmed that Chelsea would face Atletico Madrid, who were considered strong favourites to win the competition, the confidence amongst the fanbase was low. But my word, did the team deliver.

Chelsea dominated in sensational fashion from start to finish over both legs, winning 1-0 and 2-0 respectively as the stunning performances in Thomas Tuchel’s first European tie in charge of Chelsea got fans thinking that perhaps this could be their year.

Quarter-final

With Bayern Munich, PSG, Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Porto joining Tuchel’s new look Blues in the last eight, it looked as though they would likely get one of the big dogs who would stand in the way of Chelsea reaching the semi-final of the competition.

When Porto were drawn as their last eight opponents however, it seemed the football gods were on Chelsea’s side, while it also became clear that a matchup against either Liverpool or Real Madrid awaited in the semis, were Chelsea to beat Porto.

Despite the Portuguese side causing a few issues early on in the first leg, Chelsea came through the match with a 2-0 away win, as fans’ nerves were eased going into the reverse fixture.

The second leg certainly wasn’t vintage Chelsea, as a last-second Mehdi Taremi bicycle kick for the visitors saw the Blues lose 1-0 on the night, but the Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell goals from the first leg were crucial in ensuring they progressed despite the second leg loss.

SEVILLE, SPAIN - APRIL 07: Agustin Marchesin of FC Porto competes for the ball with Ben Chilwell of Chelsea FC during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between FC Porto and Chelsea FC at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on April 07, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
SEVILLE, SPAIN – APRIL 07: Agustin Marchesin of FC Porto competes for the ball with Ben Chilwell of Chelsea FC during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between FC Porto and Chelsea FC at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on April 07, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Semi-final

Real Madrid. 13-time winners of the competition. How would Chelsea fair against a team who have been in this position countless times before?

The Blues were in control early on and 14 minutes in, they’re in dreamland. Christian Pulisic finds space in the box and smashes a shot in from close range.

15 minutes later, Real level the score as Karim Benzema produces an elaborate finish inside the box as Chelsea failed to clear from a set-piece.

The remainder of the game saw both sides struggle to produce any real quality as the match ended 1-1, with Chelsea having the away goal to take into the second leg, the upper hand lying with the Blues.

‘Chelsea, 2021 Champions League finalists’. That was to be the headline as the Blues claimed a historic victory against Madrid, with goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount sending Chelsea to the Champions League final, as Madrid were eliminated from the competition they have dominated for years with a whimper.

Chelsea celebrate their historic victory after Mason Mount seals victory over Real Madrid (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Chelsea celebrate their historic victory after Mason Mount seals victory over Real Madrid (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Manchester City

Group stage

As many expected, Manchester City’s love affair with the Champions League group stage continued as Pep Guardiola’s side romped to first place in Group C, winning five and drawing one against their opponents in Porto, Olympiacos and Marseille.

Round of 16

Borussia Monchengladbach awaited City in the Last 16 and once again, it was a rather routine tie as the Cityzens won both legs 2-0, the Germans hardly laying a glove on their dominant opponents.

Quarter-final

It was back to Germany for City as they faced Borussia Dortmund and Erling Haaland, with many at the time believing that this was almost an audition for Haaland, as his recent performances duly attracted interest from City’s hierarchy.

Pep’s team were given a real run for their money over both legs, as a 90th minute Phil Foden winner was needed to claim victory in the first game as Marco Reus thought he’d grabbed a priceless equaliser with five minutes remaining after Kevin De Bruyne put Man City ahead early on.

The second leg saw Dortmund take the lead after just 15 minutes through Jude Bellingham, but Man City ramped up the pressure in the second half, as goals from Riyad Mahrez and Foden secured their passage to the semi-final.

Semi-final

The test eventually got a little harder for City in the last four, as they matched up against Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG.

They went behind early on through a Marquinhos goal, but a PSG implosion in the second half which saw City score twice in seven minutes and Idrissa Gueye get sent off meant they were able to control the final stages of the game and get the win.

Mahrez starred in the second leg, scoring his side’s two goals as another red card for the Parisians in the second half, this time for Di Maria ensured that City took a precious step to the competition’s pinnacle.

What’s at stake in Manchester City vs Chelsea?

Chelsea – Cup final redemption?

Nobody thought Chelsea would go all the way in 2012 and if you asked anybody at the start of this season what they thought the club’s chances were of winning the Champions League, many would have said very unlikely.

After losing the FA Cup just two weeks ago, tonight is a second chance at final glory for the team and it couldn’t be on a bigger stage.

I will apologise for another 2012-related omen, but Chelsea were underdogs in Munich and looked how that turned out. Against all the odds, they did the unthinkable.

Back to the realistic-tinted glasses, this Chelsea team now is arguably stronger than it was nine years ago but to try and topple a man who has won 14 out of 15 finals he has been in throughout his managerial career will be a new challenge all together.

Will Tuchel be able to get the better of Pep for a third time this season?

Didier Drogba shows off the Champions League trophy to Chelsea fans after defeating Bayern Munich on penalties in the Champions League final on 19th May 2012. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)
Didier Drogba shows off the Champions League trophy to Chelsea fans after defeating Bayern Munich on penalties in the Champions League final on 19th May 2012. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Manchester City – Can Pep finally bring Champions League glory to the Etihad?

Since Guardiola arrived in Manchester, he’s struggled to get his side to where it matters and ten years after his last Champions League final appearance, the Spaniard will undoubtedly do everything in his power to bring the biggest prize in European football back in his hands.

El Cashico, an oil final, call it what you want, but Manchester City vs Chelsea has all the potential to be one of the best Champions League finals in recent years.

Manchester City Vs Chelsea: Team News and Predicted Line Ups

Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel mentioned in his press conference yesterday that he has travelled with a fully fit squad. The biggest news was the fitness of Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante who were both declared fit for selection ahead of the game.

We expect Thomas Tuchel to not pull many surprises in this game. Edouard Mendy will man the posts with Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva starting in a back three. Reece James and Ben Chilwell will provide width as the wing backs. I expect Kante and Kovacic to start in midfield with the French man given the green light. Upfront, we expect a familiar front three with Kai Havertz playing in the false 9 role flanked by Timo Werner and Mason Mount.

Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Edouard Mendy; Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger; Reece
James, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell; Mason Mount, Timo Werner; Kai Havertz

How Chelsea could line up tonight against Manchester City
How Chelsea could line up tonight against Manchester City


Manchester City

Just like Chelsea, Pep Guardiola has also travelled with a fully fit squad. However, it was mentioned that Ilkay Gundogan was limping in training after a challenge and not much is known on his fitness.

We expect Pep Guardiola to go with a 3-4-3 and match Chelsea tonight. John Stones, Kyle Walker and Ruben Dias will be in defence in front of Ederson who will be manning the post for City. Additionally, I expect Joao Cancelo and Zinchenko to play as the wing backs with Rodri and Fernandinho playing in midfield. Upfront, we expect Pep to go with a similar False 9 setup with Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.

Manchester City (3-4-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias; Zinchenko, Rodri, Fernandinho, Cancelo; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden

How Manchester City could lineup against Chelsea
How Manchester City could lineup against Chelsea

Final Thoughts: Manchester City vs Chelsea

Both teams know what is at stake here. League form, previous trophies and everything else will take a backseat. This will be a one off game where the best team will prevail despite of names on paper or superstars on either sides.

Vivek’s Prediction

I expect Chelsea to repeat their famous night at Munich and win their second Champions League trophy with goals from Mason Mount and Timo Werner.

Prediction: 2-1 Chelsea

Luka’s Prediction

It is so hard to predict a final of this magnitude when your team is in it but the way Chelsea performed against City under Tuchel fills me with that extra confidence that the Blues really can win the game. I don’t think it’ll be comfortable, but we’ll do it! Mason Mount with a double.

Prediction: 2-1 Chelsea

Written by Luka Foley (@UOGLuka) and Vivek (@CFCVivek_)

Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)

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