Both teams produced hugely impressive performances in Europe this week to defeat PSG and Real Madrid. Despite the galaxy of attacking stars available to Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel, it was the aggression and thoroughness of their defensive work that stood out. It will be interesting to see if we see any tactical shenanigans today, as both coaches try to avoid giving too much ahead of the final in Istanbul (as it stands) later this month.
Chelsea have the confidence to know that they beat City at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final last month. They steadfastly defended and sought to expose City with Werner’s pace on the counterattack. City were no color that day and will have to move the ball at a better pace tonight. Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic were substitutes against Real Madrid and could start today.
Guardiola has preferred to use a pair of false nines in those big games this season, with Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in those roles against PSG. Without the ball, City’s players returned to a narrow 4-4-2 and defended as a compact unit. It was really a bit like Guardiola, but just another example of how he has adjusted to this weird season. Three points and they will be champions for the third time in four years under Guardiola.
The brilliant City manager said: “It’s curious to say that because this year we’ve been stranded and people aren’t able to do what they want. All of the backstage staff have done incredibly well and that’s why we could be spinning a lot of players and that helps. It’s a big compliment to them.
Full news from the team on the way soon.