Thursday, June 24, 2021

Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea: Five Major Talking Points After Saturday’s Champions League Final

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Although they might have made the trip out to Portugal as an outside pick with many, it was Champions League success for Chelsea on Saturday night.

Fully deserving of their new status as European champions, The Blues landed a 1-0 win in Porto thanks to Kai Havertz’s first-half strike only a few minutes before the break.

In the second all-English Champions League Final over the past three years, we have taken a look at 5 big talking points as Chelsea once again ruined Manchester City’s party.

Chelsea have City’s number

Putting in what was a professional display at the Estádio do Dragão, there was no doubting that Chelsea were a more than worthy winner of their fourth European title during the Roman Abramovich era.

Dominating large spells of the game, especially in the opening 45 minutes, the West London outfit also managed to once again get one over The Sky Blues, something that has become a real hobby for them over the past six weeks.

Ending Manchester City’s FA Cup adventure at Wembley thanks to a 1-0 win in the semi-finals last month, they also landed that stunning last-gasp 2-1 win when they made the trip to the Etihad on Premier League duties on May 8th. In fact, Guardiola has lost more matches against Chelsea in all competitions than against any other club (eight).

More European heartbreak for Pep

After coming past French giants PSG in the semi-finals thanks to a 4-1 aggregate victory, it almost appeared written in the stars that Manchester City would lift their first European crown in their first-ever Champions League final.

However, while Guardiola’s side might have been tipped as a standout pick with many across Europe to end their funk against Chelsea, the Spaniards decision to leave Fernandinho on the bench was a choice that raised plenty of eyebrows, including in the Chelsea camp.

Unable to really gain much of their usual foothold in the game and certainly not helped by Kevin De Bruyne limping off in the second-half after a heavy collision with Antonio Rudiger, City eventually ended their campaign with a Premier League and EFL Cup to show for their efforts, not quite the famous quadruple-winning season they had hoped for earlier in the year.

The Tuchel effect

Although many Chelsea fans were upset to see Frank Lampard leave the club back in January, there is no doubt that Saturday’s result in Porto only underlined why it was the correct decision to bring Tuchel in.

Making a host of changes at Stamford Bridge and really hitting the ground running since moving to England earlier in the year, the former PSG boss has only cemented his spot as one of Europe’s premier coaches with another tactical masterclass on foreign soil.

Guiding Chelsea back to an automatic top-four finish in the Premier League, Tuchel also became the third different German manager to win the Champions League in the last three seasons, following on from Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Bayern Munich’s Hans Flick.

Kante steals the show

While Guardiola’s decision to leave out both Fernandinho and Rodri might have shocked many from across Europe, one of Chelsea’s standout performers this season once again put in another Man of the Match display in Porto.

While N’Golo Kante might have been in a public fitness battle ahead of Saturday’s showdown, the World Cup winner put in a monumental display in front of Chelsea’s back four and has topped off what has been a stellar domestic campaign with The Blues.

Claiming his third straight Man of the Match award after landing the accolade in back-to-back meetings against Real Madrid in both semi-final legs, the one-time Leicester ace also completed 100% of his tackles on route to lifting his first Champions League trophy.

A night to forget for Sterling

While Guardiola might still be ruing his decision to leave out Fernandinho, there was certainly another surprise inclusion in the Spaniards starting XI out in Porto.

Enduring what has been a real lackluster campaign with the now defending Premier League champions, Raheem Sterling had yet another sluggish night on foreign soil and there rightfully remains plenty of concern heading into this summer’s European Championships on home soil.

Getting the nod to start wide on the left of City’s attacking quartet, the England international could not get anything out of Chelsea right-back Reece James and constantly cut a frustrated figure until he was replaced by the departing Sergio Aguero with 15 minutes to go.

Match Report

Manchester City: Ederson (5), Walker (5), Stones (4), Dias (5), Zinchenko (5), Gündogan (4), De Bruyne (5.5), Foden (6), Sterling (3), Mahrez (4.5), B. Silva (5)

Subs: Aguero (4), Fernandinho (6), Gabriel Jesus (4.5)

Chelsea: Mendy (7), James (8), Rüdiger (7.5), Azpilicueta (7), Thiago Silva (6.5), Chillwell (7.5), Jorginho (7), Kante (9), Mount (8), Havertz (8.5), Werner (6)

Subs: Christensen (7), Pulisic (7), Kovacic (6.5)

Yellow Cards: Manchester City: Gündogan, Jesus – Chelsea: Rudiger

Red Cards: N/A

Goals: Havertz 42′

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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