It's an all English final when Manchester City and Chelsea face off at Porto's Estadio do Dragao in Portugal on Saturday evening. The pair of them have fully deserved their spot in the final after knocking out their fair share of European behemoths on the way, making this, despite both teams coming from the same country, an exciting and worthy final.
The Citizens have so far had an absolutely magnificent season winning the Prem, the Carabao cup (whether you rate it or not) and now playing in their first ever Champions League final. They were, by far, the best team in England finishing 12(!) points above 2nd placed rivals Manchester United despite dropping unnecessary points after securing the title.
Manchester City have been formidable this season having not only dominated the Prem but also the Champions League, an aspect that can be seen in the fact that they have won 11 of their 12 European outings this season. This, coupled with the fact that Guardiola has won 14 out of the 15 major finals he has participated in is very indicative of the caliber of both players and coach.
Pep has a full, injury-free squad to choose from ahead of Saturday, but the question is, who will he start up top? Aguero came off the bench to score 2 goals but has been plagued by injuries this season and has also been overlooked, making it unlikely that he starts. Gabriel Jesus has generally been ice-cold this season and will, most likely, not be given the nod. This leaves the last option of De Bruyne playing as a false 9, a move that has seen City gain more control over games but has also seen them score less goals.
Had anyone claimed that Chelsea would be playing in this seasons Champions League final during Lampards tenure, they would have been branded madmen, and for good reason. However, along with the arrival of Thomas Tuchel came a total change in confidence. Chelsea suddenly became hard to beat due to a well-organised defence, whilst managing to be efficient enough going forward.
The Blues knocked out the likes of Atletico Madrid, Porto, and Real Madrid on their way to the final which is testament to how much they improved after bringing Tuchel in. However, an unimpressive end to the season which saw Chelsea recently lose to Leicester in the FA cup final, as well as against Aston Villa in the last game of the domestic season.
Chelsea have been a very defensively astute side since Tuchel's appointment and i do not expect that to change before Saturday, especially given whats at stake here. Major finals are usually extremely tense situations, an aspect which leads to fewer goals scored due to neither team wanting to go on the offensive for fear of counter-attacks. This, coupled with Chelsea defensive nature will, more likely than not, lead to a low-scoring game.
As mentioned above, finals are usually low-scoring affairs. Given how good both teams defences have been throughout the season, i believe this will be a very, very tightly contested match which is why i will be backing Under 2.5 goals at 1.65 with Betway.