It’s a battle of the former Super League clubs in this year’s Champions League final as Manchester City face Chelsea.
The newly-crowned Premier League winners are chasing their maiden European Cup while the Londoners are on for a second triumph nine years after that famous night against Bayern Munich.
Pep Guardiola is desperate to prove he can win the Champions League without assistance from Lionel Messi but Thomas Tuchel has been a thorn in his side since the former PSG boss replaced Frank Lampard in January.
Chelsea lead 2-1 in this season’s head-to-head record with the most recent match seeing the Blues come from behind to secure a 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium earlier this month. Sergio Aguero’s probably wiped that game from his memory after his panenka shocker.
Superstitious Blues bigwigs are reverting to this season’s home kit after disastrous results for their men’s and women’s team wearing next year’s striking strip. Whether that makes any difference remains to be seen.
The one guarantee for this year’s final is the trophy will be heading to England – and we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the big match.
Champions League Final Venue
It’s been the UEFA equivalent of pass the parcel with a number of different venues taking their turn to think they’d be hosting the final.
The match was originally down to be played at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg before coronavirus was a thing.
But last year’s rescheduled and relocated tournament meant that final hosts were knocked back a year so the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul took over for 2021.
Turkey’s struggle with the pandemic, coronavirus restrictions and the fact it’s an all-English final prompted Villa Park and Wembley Stadium to offer up hosting duties.
UEFA had other ideas, however, so we’re heading to the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal as a compromise.
There’ll be a crowd of 16,500 people, with City and Chelsea being roared on by 6,000 fans each.
Champions League Final Kick-Off Time
Do you remember the halcyon days of the Champions League final being played on a Wednesday night? Good times. Well, it’s been a Saturday night affair for the best part of a decade and this year’s showpiece is slated to kick off at 8pm BST on Saturday May 29.
Champions League Final Team News
Guardiola has a fully-fit squad to choose from. Lucky. The headscratcher for the City boss is whether to continue with the false-nine approach or restore Aguero to the starting XI after his brace on the final day of the Premier League season.
Chelsea counterpart Tuchel is sweating on the fitness of Edouard Mendy after colliding with a post in the defeat at Aston Villa while N’Golo Kante missed that game with a thigh injury, although both players are expected to feature.
Champions League Final Predictions
Liverpool icon and Paddy Power ambassador Phil Thompson – 1-1 AFTER 90 MINUTES
“I do think Chelsea will sit back and they can defend very well. Score wise, I am going to go for a score draw so Both Teams to Score, I’m going for 1-1 after 90 minutes. As I say, not a high-scoring game. I do fancy both teams to score in this, that would be my big bet on the day.”
Paddy Power stats guru Andrew Beasley – MANCHESTER CITY TO WIN
“There are two factors which appear to swing the match in the Citizens’ favour.
“Kante and Mendy are injury doubts, and their absences would be felt hugely by Chelsea. If Kepa Arrizabalaga is in goal, there is a fair chance Loris Karius will be trending on Twitter on Saturday evening. And the favourites have an advantage in the dugout too, as Guardiola is an absolute monster in cup finals. He has taken teams to 15 of them and come home with the trophy on 14 occasions.
“That may not count for anything on the day, but Tuchel has only three wins from seven finals, and his side recently lost to Leicester in the FA Cup, as you well know. City should therefore have a slight edge and win the match to claim their first Champions League title.”
Paddy Power football trader Emmet O’Keeffe – CHELSEA WIN OR DRAW DOUBLE CHANCE
“While Man City didn’t have their first choice teams selected in either of Chelsea’s two victories over them in the Premier League and FA Cup, it should give Chelsea some added belief that this outstanding City side can be beaten. In what should be a tight, low-scoring match between two outstanding defences, Chelsea to Win or Draw in the Double Chance market looks like the best value.”
Paddy Power tipster Andrew Cunneen – MAN CITY TO WIN TO NIL
“How many times have you seen smaller players make the difference in Champions League finals? Thinking back – probably Juliano Belletti in 2006 was the standout. Man City have goalscorers and creatives all over the park. They’re capable of scoring six on any given day, let alone attaching the sentiment of Sergio Aguero’s farewell.
“Chelsea’s top scorer this season was Jorginho. He scored seven penalties. They don’t have big-name performers this season and that’s going to have to be addressed in the summer. But for right now? They could be in a bit of bother. I think there’s value in Man City to Win to Nil.”
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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