Manchester City face Chelsea in Porto on Saturday in an all-English Champions League Final. Premier League Champions City are looking to win their first Champions League title against a Chelsea side whose only triumph in the final was in 2012 when they beat Bayern Munich on penalties in Munich.
Pep Guardiola’s team won the Premier League at a canter this season and are hoping to wrap up a treble of trophies with victory in the Champion’s League final. While it’s true that Manchester City have lost twice in their last four games, it’s worth pointing out that Pep Guardiola rotated his squad heavily once they had confirmed the Premier League title as theirs. Manchester City have only failed to win one of their ten European games this season, and won both legs in each of the round of 16, quarter-final and semi-final pairings.
Chelsea come into the game on the back of some slightly indifferent form in the Premier League, having won only five of their last nine league games with defeats to both Arsenal and Aston Villa in the final weeks of the season. Likewise, Chelsea haven’t had the quite the same stroll to the final that their opponents have, losing at home to Porto in the quarter-final second leg and only drawing with Real Madrid in the semi-final first leg. That being said, Chelsea looked superb when it mattered at home to Real Madrid while their 2-1 win over Leicester in the penultimate game of the Premier League season helped to ensure their top four finish.
Manchester City and Chelsea have already played each other three times this season, with Chelsea winning the last two fixtures between them.
Ilkay Gundogan limped out of training in the final session Manchester City held on Friday before the game which will leave Pep Guardiola sweating over a key component of his team. The German midfielder has had a rich vein of form this season, scoring 13 times in the Premier League and his absence will be keenly felt. There is also a question over whether Sergio Aguero will start in what would be his last Man City appearance; his brace against Everton off the bench last week will have given Guardiola food for thought.
Chelsea are hopeful keeper Edouard Mendy and midfielder N’Golo Kante will be fit for the Final. Kante sat out the final game of the Premier League season with a hamstring problem while Mendy limped off at half time thanks to a rib injury. Other than those two doubts, Thomas Tuchel has a full squad to choose from with a big question who starts up front.
Man City are the big favourites with the bookies for this one, and despite having lost twice to Chelsea in the last two months it’s not too hard to understand why. While Chelsea looked a bit lost in their final game against Aston Villa, Guardiola’s side destroyed Everton with a 5-0 win which could have easily been more. The Cityzens have an embarrassment of riches up front and it’s a big job for Chelsea to keep all of them quiet. The Champions League trophy has eluded Guardiola for 10 years now; it’s time for that to come to an end.