Manchester City and Chelsea will face each other for the fourth time this season on Saturday, 29 May, in the final of the champions league to be played in Portugal at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao. The match was originally due to have been held at the Attaturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Portugal being added to the UK’s “red list,” the venue had to be changed.
It’s a shame that the game couldn’t have taken place at Wembley, especially as it’s an all-English final. UEFA considered it, but unfortunately, it was impossible to organise the necessary quarantine exemptions for broadcasters, sponsors, and VIPs in time.
Both Chelsea and Manchester City have been awarded 6000 tickets each, with a total of 20,000 people being expected to be in the stadium.
Manchester City are the clear favourites, having topped the English Premier League with 86 points, 12 points ahead of second-placed Manchester United. For their part, Chelsea finished in fourth position on 67 points but only thanks to Tottenham Hotspur winning away at Leicester City 4-2. Had Spurs not won, Chelsea would have finished outside the top four.
On the three other occasions when the two sides played each other this season, Chelsea are well ahead.
In their first head-to-head at Stamford Bridge in January, Chelsea won 3-1. Their second encounter was in the FA Cup semi-finals when Chelsea again won, this time by 1-0. Their third meeting was a league fixture on 8 May at the Etihad when Chelsea again one, this time by 2-1.
So you might think that Chelsea should have the mental advantage. However, the truth is they’re going to need it. Manchester City finished the season on spectacular form.
On the other hand, Chelsea showed a lacklustre performance in the FA Cup final when they were beaten 1-0 by Leicester. Then, their last game in the EPL, where they were beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa, was little better.
Their recently appointed manager, Thomas Tuchel, has got a serious job on his hands. In Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, he faces a man looking at trying to secure a treble for his team, and the Spaniard’s credentials speak for themselves. Given that this is the one trophy that has so far eluded Guardiola, his team will be incredibly motivated.
A few days ago, Pep Guardiola was named manager of the year by the English league managers Association, and rightly so. At the age of just 50, and if he stays in the English Premier League, he will enter the list of the Greatest English Club Managers of All Time.
But football, as they say, is a funny old game and Chelsea manager Tuchel won’t want to repeat the pain he felt when Bayern Munich beat his PSG team in the champions league final last season. It will be all to play for.