The city of Porto will literarily be on standstill as Manchester City and Chelsea battle for the prestigious UEFA Champions League title today (Saturday).
City reached the final after defeating PSG in the semi-final while Chelsea edge Real Madrid 3-1 on aggregate.
It is the third final of Europe’s elite club competition to be played between two Premier League sides, and the second in just three seasons, and so this is a match-up that underlines the strength of the cash-rich English game.
Chelsea, though, have beaten City twice in the last six weeks, first in the FA Cup semi-final and then at the Etihad Stadium in the league, the Citizens side starring the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias are the clear favourites at the Estadio do Dragao.
Recall that last weekend, City romped to the Premier League title, the team’s third in four seasons, and have also won the League Cup this season.
“Everyone wants to win but to win you have to play. Sometimes you want to play one way but the opponent in the final dictates another way and you have to adapt to circumstances. Some players go out and have more pressure, more tension. Better players can struggle but you have to handle this. I’m sure we will have to suffer to win the final. It’d be nice to go out and enjoy but sometimes it is not possible. Most times in finals you have to suffer. You have to be resilient and adjust to the bad moments in the game.” –Guardiola
“We always practise penalties when we face a match where it’s possible it could go to penalties. Can we simulate the pressure, the fatigue, the occasion, how it will feel tomorrow? No, we cannot. But still we believe we can take care about some patterns, and about a certain rhythm and certain habits during penalties. Which we did. And honestly, the penalty shootout was fantastic in terms of quality from the takers, I’ve never seen anything like this – 20 penalties in a row and no misses. And so, so strong, and so well taken. And we have identified the guys who should take the penalties for us, but I don’t know who in the end will be on the pitch. So we need to be well aware, but we are prepared and if we go to penalties we go in there together.”-Tuchel
Head To Head
Statistically, Today’s Champions League final will mark the 169th meeting between Man City and Chelsea in all competitions, with the Blues boasting 70 wins compared to the Citizens’ 59.
Despite his fluffed penalty, soon-to-be Barcelona attacker Aguero has struck 15 times in 22 games against Chelsea for City, and the two clubs have not met in Europe since the 1970-71 Cup Winners’ Cup, where the capital side overcame their English rivals in the semi-finals before ultimately winning the tournament.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kovacic, Kante, Chilwell; Mount, Werner; Havertz