2020/21 UCL Final – The clash of the billionaires and the tacticians

guardiola vs tuchel

The 2020/21 UEFA Champions League final takes place tomorrow between two English giants in recent times due to the spending power of their respective owners. 

The two clubs who will be facing each other in the final of Europe’s elite club competition were minnows in English football some decades back but have carved niches for themselves amongst Europe’s elite clubs in recent times.

Chelsea FC were just there before the arrival of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Manchester City were the notable noisy rivals with no notable impact before the arrival of Sheikh Mansour.

Regardless, both sides have become major players in English football since they were taken over by these billionaire figures.

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Both sides will face each other in the UCL final on May 29, 2021, and no one saw this fixture coming for both sides. City started the season struggling while Chelsea had to let go of Frank Lampard in the course of the season for Thomas Tuchel to come in as a replacement.

Ahead of the game, Premier League champions Manchester City remain favorites for the win after ending the season on a high. Chelsea, on the other hand, ended the season on a low, relying on other results to even make it to the Champions League next season.

Although Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel have beaten Pep Guardiola’s Man City twice in the two meetings that have preceded this final on Saturday, bookmakers still see the Citizens as favorites, and rightfully so.

The UEFA Champions League title has eluded Guardiola since his move from Barcelona. It eluded him at Bayern Munich, and thus far at City.

This is Man City’s first-ever UCL final and considering the investments that have triggered this success, the Spaniard will be desperate to emerge tops in the game.

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Chelsea, on the other hand, were also desperate for the UEFA Champions League title until luck shone on them in 2012.

They suffered a major heartbreak in their first-ever UCL final after losing on penalties to Manchester United. They had their destiny in their hands but legendary captain John Tery slipped it away.

This will be the Blues’ third UCL final in comparison to the Citizens’ first and it will be a game of tactics between Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel as one tries to outwit the other.

Tuchel is yet to win the UCL and was on the losing side with Paris Saint-Germain in the 2019/20 season.

Pep Guardiola is a highly trophy-laden manager with two UCL triumphs to his name while Thomas Tuchel’s trophy spells were domestic titles with PSG and the DFB Pokal with Borussia Dortmund. Therefore, the German will be keen to make his mark in the UCL.

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Both sides play possession football and know how to keep the ball against their opponents. City have an edge over Chelsea as their forwards are very clinical compared to those at Chelsea and this will be a major factor in the game. The side that puts away chances, even half ones when they come, will emerge tops.

There will be no excuses in this game as both sides have all their stars ready for action at the Estadio do Dragao on Saturday. Find probable lineups below;

Manchester City Predicted XI (4-3-3): Ederson Moraes; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva; Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez

Chelsea Predicted XI (3-4-3): Edouard Mendy; Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta; Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante; Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner

Chelsea’s previous UCL final games have ended in penalty shootouts but it remains to be seen who dominates this one between the two sides.  

Manchester City are favorites and Pep Guardiola is not the type of manager to watch his side being dragged into penalties although Thomas Tuchel won’t want that either. I’ll sit on the fence for this one although the Citizens are favorites for the win.