Manchester City – Chelsea: Champions League Final Preview and Line-Ups

Arguably the most highly anticipated fixture on the European football schedule takes place at the Estadio do Dragao on Saturday night as Manchester City lock horns with Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League Final. This is the third all-English UEFA Champions League Final and the second one involving the Blues.

Chelsea succumbed to a penalty shoot-out loss to Manchester United in the first all-English Champions League Final in Moscow back in 2008. They are now looking to win Europe’s most prestigious club competition for the first time since lifting the crown in 2011-12.

Meanwhile, Manchester City have qualified for their first-ever Champions League Final, becoming the ninth English club to reach this milestone. If they win here, it will be the Citizens’ 50th victory in the Champions League.

Manchester City vs Chelsea Head-To-Head

Manchester City have lost both of their only previous European meetings with Chelsea, finding themselves on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline in both legs of their 1970-71 European Cup Winners’ Cup Semi-Final tie.

Overall head-to-head record favors the Stamford Bridge outfit. The Londoners have tallied 68 triumphs in 166 matches against Man City, who had added 58 victories to their name with 40 draws. 

This season alone, Chelsea suffered a 3-1 defeat at home under Frank Lampard before Thomas Tuchel led the Blues to back-to-back wins in the FA Cup and the Premier League, respectively.

Indeed, the former Champions League winners came out 1-0 victors in the sides’ most recent meeting on neutral ground, with Hakim Ziyech propelling Chelsea to a narrow success at Wembley.

Manchester City and Chelsea have traded tackles in the cup finals on two occasions so far, with the London side prevailing in their most recent such encounter back in the 2018-19 English League Cup showpiece.

Manchester City Preview

Manchester City have lost five of their six European clashes against Premier League opposition, barring a 4-3 second-leg victory against Tottenham in the 2018-19 Champions League Quarter-Finals. 

Despite their disappointing continental record against domestic rivals, the newly-crowned Premier League champions have been nothing short of outstanding this term. They have won 11 Champions League games this season to become the first English club to reach that landmark in a single campaign.

If they outplay Chelsea in the final, City would equal Real Madrid’s record of 12 triumphs in a single Champions League season. Furthermore, Pep Guardiola’s men have racked up a seven-match winning streak in the competition since a goalless draw with Porto on Matchday 5, becoming the first Premier League side to put together seven wins in the European Cup.

Virtually unstoppable in front of goal, the Citizens have scored 60 goals in their last 25 Champions League outings at an average of 2.4 per match. This season, they’ve netted 2+ goals in ten of their 12 games in the competition.

Before Marco Reus’ 84th-minute goal at the Etihad in the first leg of their Quarter-Final tie against Borussia Dortmund, Man City had gone 790 minutes without conceding in the Champions League. However, they have since failed to register a shutout in two of their three knock-out games.

Chelsea Preview

Unlike Manchester City, Chelsea have done impressive work against domestic rivals on the European stage, having lost just 21.05% of their continental matches against Premier League sides (GP19 – W7, D8, L4).

However, the Blues have claimed just a single victory in their last five European meetings with English opposition (D2, L2).

Since overcoming Real Madrid in the Champions League Semi-Finals, the London heavyweights have experienced a dip in form, losing three of their subsequent five matches in all competitions (W2). But one of their two wins in that sequence came at the expense of City.

Tuchel’s arrival had a galvanizing effect on Chelsea’s defensive game, with a 2-0 second-leg win against Madrid marking their 13th clean sheet in 17 matches. However, they have failed to complete a single shutout in five outings since then.

After failing to beat Guardiola in their first five managerial head-to-heads back in their days in the Bundesliga (D2, L3), Tuchel has outmaneuvered his Man City counterpart in both competitive meetings with Chelsea. 

Manchester City vs Chelsea Players To Watch 

Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne

Even though he has failed to emulate the staggering numbers from last season, Kevin De Bruyne has been one of Manchester City’s standout performers this campaign. The Belgian playmaker has racked up 10 goals and 18 assists across all competitions this term.

De Bruyne has been involved in at least one goal in five of his seven Champions League appearances in 2020-21, scoring three and assisting four. The 29-year-old also got on the scoresheet in three consecutive matches against Chelsea before Tuchel’s arrival in January.

Chelsea: Christian Pulisic

Following a difficult adaptation time to Tuchel’s tenure, Christian Pulisic has become a permanent fixture in the German’s starting XI at Chelsea. Despite drawing a blank in his last six Premier League outings, the 22-year-old forward was decisive in his side’s Semi-Final tie against Madrid.

After breaking the deadlock in a 1-1 first-leg stalemate in Spain, the former Borussia Dortmund star laid on an assist for Mason Mount to seal Chelsea’s 3-1 aggregate success. Pulisic showcased his talents in his team’s 2-1 victory at the Etihad on May 8, causing the Citizens all sorts of problems with his bursting runs and constant movements between the lines.

Manchester City vs Chelsea Predicted Line-Ups

MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Ederson Moraes; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva; Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez

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