The biggest prize in club football will be decided on Saturday. And then, after the Championship play off final ends with one of Brentford or Swansea City earning their spot on the Premier League gravy train, there will be the small matter of crowning Europe’s best team. Chelsea and Manchester City have been perhaps the two best teams in Europe since the start of 2021, particularly since the former changed manager, and their meetings so far this season have been nothing if not tactically absorbing contests.
It is only natural that the build-up to Saturday’s final should be dominated by talk of the last two meetings between these sides. Twice in the last six weeks Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola have matched wits and on both occasions, tactically and in the final scoreline, it has been the Chelsea manager who has got the better of Manchester City.
Doubtless that will give a fillip to the Chelsea dressing room in the Estadio do Dragao ahead of kick-off but neither side seems to be getting too carried away with what happened in the previous meetings. Asked by CBS Sports what he had learned from his previous meetings with Saturday’s opponents, Guardiola’s answer was brief “How good they are. Congratulations on the two victories. We will see you on Saturday.” He betrayed no fear, quite the opposite. Guardiola is not alone in feeling that way. There has been an ease around the City camp in the build-up that suggests those other two games count for very little in their mind.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea overcame City 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on 17 April before coming from behind to beat Pep Guardiola’s side 2-1 at Etihad Stadium on 8 May. Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Friday Football Social, former Tottenham and England midfielder Jenas said those defeats would not be weighing heavily on City’s minds.
“In the semi-final, City had Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres up top,” he added. “All three didn’t get a kick. They were terrible really. “It was such a different make-up compared to what Chelsea are going to come up against on Saturday.
NAME: Manchester City – Chelsea
DATE: 29 May 2021
TIME: 19:00 UTC
VENUE: Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal