The odds for Manchester City vs Chelsea are provided by BetMGM.
|To Win and Total Goals||Odds|
|Manchester City and Over 2.5||+210
|Manchester City and Under 2.5||+260
|Chelsea and Over 2.5||+700
|Chelsea and Under 2.5||+600
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|The Champions League final is a high-stakes event and often produces cagey affairs, but Manchester City should find a way to get the job done. Back Pep Guardiola’s side to triumph and under 2.5 goals.|
|Manchester City vs Chelsea Information|
|Teams||Manchester City vs Chelsea|
|Location||Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal|
|Time||Saturday, 29 May 2021, 15.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||CBS, Paramount+|
Manchester City finds itself in unchartered territory. Since the groundbreaking takeover by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, the club has grown from a mid-table team to one that regularly wins the Premier League title. City got their hands on that particular trophy for the fifth time this season, finishing comfortably clear of the chasing pack to move level with Chelsea in the post-1992 rankings. Now only Manchester United have won the Premier League more often than their crosstown rivals.
Success in Europe, however, has hitherto eluded City. This was understandable to an extent in the first half of the 2010s. Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini might have got City over the line in the Premier League title race, but countries like Spain, Germany, and even Italy were producing stronger teams during this period. City might have been the kings of England but they routinely struggled in the Champions League and were even knocked out in the group phase two years on the bounce.
When Pep Guardiola’s side amassed 100 Premier League points in 2017/18, it was clear that City were among the best sides on the continent. Yet they still could not get past Liverpool in the Champions League, despite finishing 25 points clear of them back home. It was a similar story in 2018/19 and 2019/20, when City were eliminated by supposedly inferior teams in Tottenham Hotspur and Lyon.
This time around, though, Guardiola’s side have negotiated the knockout phase in impressive fashion, beating Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund, and, in only their second-ever Champions League semi-final, Paris Saint-Germain. City are now just one win away from making history.
Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012, but they too have struggled in Europe’s foremost competition in recent years. This season’s semi-final was their first in seven years since Jose Mourinho’s side were beaten by Atletico Madrid in 2014. The Spanish side were among Chelsea’s victims in the knockout phase this term, before they overcame Porto and Real Madrid in the last eight and last four respectively.
Thomas Tuchel has done a wonderful job since replacing Frank Lampard in the Stamford Bridge hot seat in January. He has succeeded in making Chelsea harder to beat, with their defensive improvements evidenced by a record of 18 clean sheets in 29 games in all competitions. There have been struggles going forward, though, and there remains a sense that Tuchel has not yet fully settled on a favored attacking unit.
The German will also have been disappointed by the way Chelsea’s domestic campaign finished. In the end the Blues rather stumbled over the line in the top-four race, finishing ahead of Leicester City primarily because of the Foxes’ own dip in form. Premier League defeats by Arsenal and Aston Villa might not ultimately have proven costly, but they may have had an adverse effect on morale – as might the loss to Leicester in the FA Cup final.
Chelsea have beaten Manchester City twice under Tuchel – once in the FA Cup semi-finals and once in the Premier League. Yet there are two things to bear in mind here. In the league game, City’s starting XI was nothing like the one that will take to the field on Saturday. And in the FA Cup, Guardiola again rested some of his regular starters with an eye on upcoming encounters.
In that FA Cup semi-final, City were not their usual selves. A subdued performance led to a 1-0 defeat, with Chelsea completely deserving to triumph on the day. Tuchel’s side were even more dominant in the second half of their Premier League triumph over City at the Etihad Stadium, although their game plan against Guardiola’s first-choice team here will be based primarily on a tight defense and sharp transitions.
At the same time, City will opt for controlled possession over gung-ho attack. This is a Champions League final, after all, and Guardiola will not take undue risks against a side as dangerous on the counter-attack as Chelsea. The upshot of this is that we could be in for a low-scoring game, unless there is an early goal – although there has been more than one in the first half of a Champions League final in just one of the last nine seasons.
With both teams possessing fine defensive records, this game is more likely to be settled in attack – and that is where City are superior. They create more chances and, crucially, are much better at finishing them. Back City to beat Chelsea in a final featuring fewer than 2.5 goals.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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