This is going to be a fascinating contest, as we get to see a preview of what this season’s Champions League final could be like. It is likely that Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola will keep some of their cards close to their chest, with changes expected in both camps. However, a win for either team would provide a lot of momentum going into the final. It is more important for Chelsea, as they are still fighting to secure their place in the top four. Meanwhile, it is only a matter of time before Manchester City are confirmed champions.
Pep Guardiola had a challenging last season, but he has transitioned his side back to a winning machine and they have a chance to finish the campaign with three of the four major trophies. It will be the Champions League that he seeks most. During the week, he reached his first final since 2011 and he will be determined that his players remain focused up until the end of the season, despite the rest of the league matches carrying little meaning. This match against Chelsea may mean little for City, but they lost in the FA Cup semi-final to Thomas Tuchel’s men. Guardiola will want to avoid two successive defeats to the team they are due to face in Turkey.
For Chelsea, the focus now needs to be on finishing the job in the Premier League. They have reached the final of Europe’s premier competition, but they may not even be in the Champions League next season. Tuchel now has two avenues for qualification. The Blues can finish in the top four, or win the final in Istanbul. The German will want to confirm their place in next season’s competition early. With only three points separating them from West Ham United in 5th, they need to get a positive result on Saturday.
- During last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace, Manchester City notched their 700th goal under Pep Guardiola. No team has scored more during this period.
- Kai Havertz has now scored eight times for Chelsea, all of which have come in London.
It is going to be an emotional few weeks for Sergio Aguero and Manchester City supporters. Although the team have slowly transitioned away from the Argentine, he is a club legend and he will be given his fair share of minutes for the rest of the Premier League season. As a player capable of scoring crucial goals, he could still have a part to play in the Champions League final. It is important he builds his match fitness and confidence over the coming weeks to prove his worth to Guardiola. Since signing for Manchester City, he has fared well against Chelsea, with ten goals in 15 Premier League matches against the Blues. He has helped his team to eight victories during this period. Guardiola is likely to rotate his team, to prevent Chelsea getting too much information before the Champions League final. This should give an opportunity to the club legend and following his goal last weekend, he could be ready to end his time in Manchester on a high.
There were several Chelsea players to perform well during the week, but the key player was N’Golo Kante. His aggressive ball-winning and ability to carry the ball played a part in each goal. It was a complete performance from the Frenchman and it served as a reminder that he is one of the best midfielders in the world. For Chelsea to compete with Manchester City, they need the former Leicester midfielder to be at the top of his game. He is capable of dominating any midfield and he is beginning to build a great relationship with Jorginho. The tie was won in midfield on Wednesday night, with the pair combining well against a world class Real Madrid midfield. Kante made three key passes, one tackle and five interceptions. His anticipation was there for all to see and he looks set to return to his best form ahead of the European Championships. If he starts on Saturday, Chelsea have a great chance of beating Manchester City for the second time under Tuchel.
John Stones will serve the final game of his three-match suspension. Aymeric Laporte is expected to be recalled to the starting eleven after missing out in midweek. Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres could all start.
Mateo Kovacic continues to struggle with injury and he is unlikely to be risked in this game. Hakim Ziyech could be recalled to the team following his match-winning performance against Manchester City in the FA Cup.
This is likely to be a low scoring affair, as they have the two best defences in the Premier League. There will also be a desire for both teams to keep some cards hidden ahead of the Champions League final. Chelsea have something to play for this weekend and that could give them the edge. They have the players to cause real issues for the Manchester defence, while Thomas Tuchel has already shown that he can beat Pep Guardiola in England.
Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea