The all-English UEFA Champions League Final between Man City and Chelsea will not only be the last day of the unorthodox 2020-21 football season, but it will also represent the overwhelming victory of football overcoming all the obstacles throughout. We are spectators, fans and fantasy enthusiasts, but can we really know every detail of the hardships our favorite clubs or players go through? I suppose not, and for that, to the whole body of the sport from organizational leaders, club owners, club management, coaches, players, shoe shiners and fans.... THANK YOU in advance.
- UCL Finalist: Manchester City — Destined for Greatness?
- UCL Finalist: Chelsea — Champions or Underdogs?
For the second year in a row, the venue for the UCL final has changed from Istanbul Ataturk Stadium because of Covid travel restrictions. The final is now scheduled to be in Estadio do Dragao in Porto. Before kick-off, American DJ and electronic music producer Marshmello will perform a virtual show for the opening ceremony.
FINAL MATCH-DAY PREVIEW
Man City vs Chelsea: The finalists met on three occasions this season starting in January when Manchester City defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge 3-1. Later on, Chelsea knocked out Manchester City from the FA Cup and also returned victorious from Etihad Stadium a couple of weeks ago with a 2-1 victory. Their numbers in the Champions League and Premier League suggest a slight advantage to the Citizens and a third UCL title for Pep Guardiola.
|13.5||Shots per game||11.5|
|15,8||Shots per game||14.6|
The overwhelming advantage of Manchester City is finding the net. Chelsea has been lacing the final touch in front of goal since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel. City conceded 36 goals total between both competitions (only 4 in UCL vs 8 clean sheets). Chelsea conceded 40 goals between competitions (also only 4 in UCL with 8 clean sheets).
Manchester City is expected to control the initial stages of the match, but Chelsea will take every opportunity to turn the possession game to their favor. Reaching the final for the second year in a row (he managed PSG there in 2020) will only elevate the pressure on the Chelsea manager. Most predictions and odds-makers favor Man City to win the match with a one goal difference.
Both teams are expected to play without a clear striker (I hope Brazilian Ronaldo and Gabriel Batistuta will not be watching). I will leave the player recommendations to my colleagues at NMA, but I would advise picking 6 or 7 starting Citizens.
Early Injury Outs & Doubts
Man City: A clean bill of health for Pep and company as Gundogan was confirmed fit after recent doubts, and Joao Cancelo returned from suspension (his EPL last-day card does not apply).
Chelsea: Doubtful Kante and E. Mendy are expected to be fit as stated by Tuchel on May 24, but he indicated that more news will be coming out on Wednesday May 26.
FINAL MATCHDAY BUILD UP
Keep an eye out for Prakhar’s Player Picks on Thursday. An RMT article by Dhivakhar is in the making for Friday, and I will be posting the UCL Live Chat with late team news early on match day — be sure to join in!
Also, consider joining NMA’s fantasy mini-league for the upcoming Euros tournament — kickoff is June 11!
What’s on your mind as you shift gears from domestic league play? Do you have any substitution dilemmas? Have you started shopping for transfers? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!