Kumasi, May 26, GNA - Newly-crowned Premier League Champions, Manchester City, will be looking forward to winning the UEFA Champions League for the first time as they lock horns with Chelsea, one of their Premiership arch-rivals, in the grand finale on Saturday, May 29, at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal.
The Sky Blues have been in a formidable form as they are yet to lose a game in the Champions League this season with a remarkable statistics of winning 11 games and drawing just a match out of the 12 games they have played so far.
They have scored 25 goals in the 2020/21 Champions League campaign, with an average goal of 2.09 per game.
The Manchester-based Club are tipped by most football pundits as the favourites to clinch the title for the first time.
Pep Guardiola’s Man City are buoyed by their impressive record in the Premiership, winning the league with an accumulated points of 86.
The new Premier League honour makes it number three for City in the last four Premiership seasons under the Spanish tactician.
Under him, the Sky Blues had seen a lot of successes, particularly within the context of the Premiership, but the same could not be said of the English giants in Europe.
This is the first time Man City had progressed past the semi-final stage of Europe’s most-coveted club competition in the annals of the club, having made it to the last four in 2016 under Manuel Pellegrini, and currently under Pep.
Under the Spanish Coach, the Citizens had preferred to be dominant in their outings, and in spite of having to play with a false goal poacher (Number 9), their incredible goal scoring record is something Chelsea should be worried about.
Sticking to a 4-3-3 formation, with varying tactics in some selected games, the Citizens are likely to unleash on their opponents the venom of in-form Algerian striker Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and either Phil Foden or Raheem Sterling, who are expected to lead the attack.
The attacking trio would be expected to be a thorn in the flesh of the Chelsea defensive network, anchored around Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger.
Aside from the strength of Man City, they have flaws which have become a headache to the technical handlers of the team, as well as their fans.
The Citizens struggle a lot coming up against opponents with a high-press mentality and tactical disposition.
In Chelsea, the Blues have what it takes to punish the Citizens, especially from counter-attacks.
The likes of Timo Werner, Mason Mount and Ben Chiwell, who run at will, are billed to mount the onslaught on their opponents, exploiting the weakness at the Citizens’ defence.
Chelsea have been rejuvenated since Thomas Tuchel took charge in January, 2021, losing just only five games in all competitions in his five months stint with the club.
The Blues have adopted a high pressing game under the German tactician, frustrating their defence with their nimble-footed attackers, and on Saturday, it is likely Tuchel will go for a 3-4-2-1 formation as he employed in the last two games they played against Manchester City, which they won.
Chelsea, five times Premier League champions, are, however, a suspect, finding it very tough to play against clubs with the flair for counter-attacking games, and this became evident in their recent defeat against Arsenal in the Premiership at Stamford Bridge, and to Leicester City in the FA Cup finals.
Per the history of the competition, the odds favour Chelsea as the competition had been hostile to teams making an appearance in the finals for the first time.
Would the odds favour Man City, who are searching for their first UEFA Champions League trophy?
Or, Tuchel would be second time lucky in the finals, having lost last year’s grand finale then as a coach of French side, PSG.
An optimistic Pep Guardiola, in a recent interview, summed up his side's preparedness ahead of the game.
“Sometimes clubs need more finals to win the first one, others need one shot. Hopefully, that will be the case,” he noted.
The clash between Manchester City and Chelsea will go down in the history of the UEFA Champions League as the third time two Premier League sides will be meeting in the grand finale.