Team news, stats and more ahead of Manchester City vs Chelsea in the Champions League final on Saturday (kick-off 8pm).
It was reported that Manchester City had a fully-fit squad for the Champions League final in Porto.
Ilkay Gundogan overcame a knee problem that meant he was not risked in last weekend’s final Premier League game against Everton.
But the midfielder appeared to take a slight knock during City’s last training session. It happened when he came together in a challenge with Fernandinho at the Estadio do Dragao, and Gundogan was slow to get to his feet.
He left the session before many of his team-mates and looked to be in slight discomfort as he went down the tunnel.
Record goalscorer Sergio Aguero is likely to be on the bench for what will be his final match for the club.
Man City squad: Ederson, Steffen, Carson, Trafford, Walker, Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Laporte, Garcia, Ake, Zinchenko, Mendy, Rodri, Gundogan, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Foden, Sterling, Mahrez, Silva, Torres, Aguero, Jesus.
Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante are expected to be fit to start for Chelsea.
Mendy has battled back quickly from bruised ribs suffered in the 2-1 Premier League season-closing defeat at Aston Villa.
World Cup winner Kante has shaken off his latest hamstring problem, with both men available for the Estadio Do Dragao encounter.
Chelsea squad: Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Alonso, Christensen, Jorginho, Silva, Kante, Abraham, Pulisic, Werner, Caballero, Zouma, Mendy, Kovacic, Giroud, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech, Gilmour, James, Azpilicueta, Havertz, Palmieri, Anjorin.
Three wins in a row for Chelsea vs City
In his entire managerial career, Man City manager Pep Guardiola has lost more matches against Chelsea in all competitions than any other club (seven). He has lost his last two games against the Blues, only losing three in a row against Real Madrid (2012-14) and Liverpool (2018).
Chelsea and Manchester City met in the Premier League earlier in May – a 2-1 Chelsea win – and are the first teams to compete in a major European final in the same month they face in a league game since Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in May 2013. The two German sides drew 1-1 in the Bundesliga, before a 2-1 Bayern win at Wembley in the UEFA Champions League final.
Can Chelsea make it three wins in a row vs Man City?
Chelsea have won their last two matches against Manchester City in all competitions, both coming since Thomas Tuchel took over at the club. They last won three in a row against Manchester City between 2005 and 2009, when they won eight in a row.
More records for City?
It is 51 years since Manchester City last played in a major European final – beating Górnik Zabrze 2-1 in the 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup final – breaking the record for the longest gap between finals for a team, with Sporting CP going 41 years between the 1964 Cup Winners’ Cup final and 2005 UEFA Cup final.
Manchester City have won 11 UEFA Champions League matches this season and victory in this match would see them equal the all-time record of 12 by Real Madrid in 2001-02, although the Spaniards played 17 matches that campaign, compared to City’s 13 this season.
Guardiola: Leaving players out is terrible
Guardiola says having to leave out players from his starting line-up is a task he would not wish on anyone.
Given the strength in depth of his squad, top internationals such as Brazilian Gabriel Jesus, England’s Raheem Sterling and Spain defender Aymeric Laporte could begin the game on the bench, as could club-record goalscorer Sergio Aguero.
Asked at the pre-match news conference what it was like to have to break his selection news to the players, Guardiola said: “Terrible. It’s absolutely disaster, don’t be a manager in your life.”
The Spaniard said there were no words that he could conjure up to ease the pain for the players concerned.
“I don’t have any nice words but my advice is stay with the team as there are five or six subs and life gives you another chance.
“Work harder and maybe next time you’ll be there. I feel incredibly sorry for them but I have to be honest, I know them and I make a selection to win the game, no alternative.”
Tuchel: It’s not me versus Pep
Chelsea have beaten City twice since Thomas Tuchel took charge of the London club in January, winning in the FA Cup semi-final and then in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium.
But the German is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team against the Premier League champions in Porto.
How to follow the Champions League final
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“It’s always tough to play against City, Bayern or Barcelona when Pep is on the sideline. He creates huge belief and success and has a huge winning mentality,” Tuchel said of Guardiola who was in charge at Bayern before joining City in 2016.
“We have had two experiences in two different competitions against City. Two different matches with two different line-ups. We have the experience of how brave and courageous we need to play in certain areas of the game.
“Maybe in the moment, City are the strongest team in Europe, in the world, and they have built a huge gap between us in the league but we closed the gap for 90 minutes at Wembley and closed the gap again in Manchester.”
From Paris via Leicester, the parallel lives of Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante explored before their Champions League final showdown.
How Phil Foden became a key figure for Manchester City this season and why his influence could prove decisive in the Champions League final.
Previous meetings this season
Nev and Carra on English domination in Europe
Speaking on Monday Night Football earlier this month, Gary Neville said: “We should be proud that over the last three or four years that Premier League clubs have started to dominate in Europe again.
“I remember going into Champions League before commentary between 2013 and 2017 saying to Martin Tyler, ‘what the hell is going on?’ Clubs were spending all this money and yet La Liga and the Bundesliga were ripping the Premier League teams apart in Europe.
“The Premier League was a laughing stock in Europe. They were taking loads of money off us for players but still winning and getting to all the Champions League finals, but in the last three years we have got it back. The three components that have contributed to that have been finances, the quality of the players in the league, and the quality of the managers.
The Premier League was a laughing stock in Europe. They were taking loads of money off us for players but still winning and getting to all the Champions League finals, but in the last three years we have got it back.
“The television money in this country, both domestic and overseas, if off the scale compared to the other leagues, it’s double or treble the other big leagues in Europe. If you look at the net spend the money hasn’t changed, there has always been more in the Premier League over this period.”
Neville pointed out how the FIFPro World XI, a composite of the 11 best players by position carefully selected by their peers, has been dominated by those hailing from the Spanish top flight as well as their counterparts in Germany over the past eight seasons.
“The best players in the world, in the FIFPro World XI, 48 in that period have been from La Liga,” he continued. “We’ve accepted that the best players in the world are in La Liga or the Bundesliga.
“Even now, the Premier League is still not massively contributing to the World XI, so most people still perceive that the best players in the world are in the other European leagues.”
But when it comes to managers, the Premier League has shown itself to contain the very best in the game, having suffered a drop-off in the most tactically astute coaches in the world.
Neville said: “In that golden period of 2005-12, we had Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the greatest managers of all time, Rafa Benitez, who was a serial winner and a brilliant manager in Spain and at Liverpool, Arsene Wenger, one of the most respected managers in the world for what he did at Arsenal, namely the Invincibles and the team which reached the Champions League final, and Jose Mourinho, who was regarded as the best manager in the world at the time.
“In the period in the middle, Manchester United lost Sir Alex to retirement, Wenger was coming to the end at Arsenal, Liverpool were going through a messy period post-Benitez where things were all over the place and Tottenham weren’t contributing. In the next period, all of a sudden, we’ve got Jurgen Klopp, Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Tuchel.
“The difference isn’t the money because the money has always been bigger in the Premier League. The best players in the world, even though we have great ones in the Premier League, are still in La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga. The big difference is the managers. We have absolutely unbelievable managers in this league.
“Guardiola is a genius, Klopp is absolutely outstanding, what Tuchel has done in six months is out of this world, and what Pochettino did at Tottenham was an unbelievable coaching performance to get Spurs to a Champions League final.
“For me, it proves that if we can keep the best managers in this country, we will succeed.
“If we don’t, even with the money, we are unlikely to succeed. That is really important for everyone to understand, we know how important the role of the manager is in football. It isn’t about the money, these managers over these two periods have been absolutely fantastic and glorious for English football and the Premier League.”
‘A golden period of coaches in English football’
Jamie Carragher added: “This is a golden period of coaches in English football. When we lost the 2007 Champions League, we were obviously disappointed, but there was almost the feeling having lost that we would be there next year. We always took it for granted that we would get at least the quarter-finals or semi-finals where anything could happen, and that was because of the managers.
“With Pep, Klopp, Tuchel, the feeling from next season will be that all of those clubs will have belief of winning in Europe because of the manager.
“I feel this is only the start for Manchester City, who whether they win this year’s final or not, will have belief because they have got to the final that they can do that year in, year out.
“Someone from England should be getting to a Champions League final every year because of the money, but right now we have the managers that every other top club in Europe would take.
City’s journey from Gills to Champions League thrills
For Manchester City fans of almost all ages, the Champions League final on Saturday is the culmination of a remarkable journey.
Saturday’s glamour clash against Chelsea in Porto comes 22 years after City needed a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Gillingham in the play-off final to escape the division now known as League One.
Had that not happened then financial difficulties could have jeopardised the move from Maine Road to what is now the Etihad Stadium, and that in turn might have prevented the Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008.
Younger supporters have enjoyed an exhilarating ride over the last 13 years, with the club’s takeover by Sheikh Mansour fuelling a dramatic ascent to the top of the game that has already brought five Premier League titles.
Those a bit older will recall the woes of the years immediately preceding all that, with the nadir being the relegation to the third tier that left them facing an uncertain financial future in 1998.
For the senior members of the fanbase, the adventure has been even more of a roller coaster, beginning with the league and FA Cup successes of the late 1960s and taking in plenty of ups and downs since.
“When we won the League Cup in 1976 and were runners-up to Liverpool by one point in 1977, I thought football was only going to get better and better,” said Kevin Parker, 60, general secretary of City’s Official Supporters Club and a season-ticket holder since 1973.
“The reality was it didn’t. It just got worse! But I have been on that journey and it’s been great.
“I wouldn’t have changed that ride. I wouldn’t swap any of those 35 years when we didn’t win a trophy for anybody else’s success because it was great. It was a fantastic journey. I don’t still want to be on it – to be fair – but we’ve had the best of both worlds.”
Last time out…
- In European competition, Chelsea and Manchester City’s only previous meetings came in the 1970-71 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final – Chelsea won both legs 1-0 to progress to the final, where they beat Real Madrid after a replay.
- Manchester City are the ninth different English team to reach a European Cup/UEFA Champions League final, at least three more than any other nation (Germany & Italy, 6). However, only one of the last 10 teams competing in their first final have won, with Borussia Dortmund winning 3-1 against Juventus in 1997. The last English team to win their first final was Aston Villa in 1982 against Bayern Munich.
- This is the third year running a team will play in the European Cup/Champions League final for the first time (Tottenham in 2019, PSG in 2020, Manchester City in 2021). This is the first time there has been a maiden finalist in three consecutive years since 1986 – 1988 (Steaua Bucharest, FC Porto, PSV).
- Both Chelsea and Manchester City have conceded just four goals in this season’s UEFA Champions League; the first time both teams competing in the final have conceded four or fewer goals on their way to reaching the showpiece event since 2005-06, when Arsenal conceded two and Barcelona four before meeting in that season’s final.
- Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is looking to win his third UEFA Champions League trophy, having won it in 2009 and 2011 with Barcelona. He would become only the third manager to win the title three times, along with Carlo Ancelotti (2003, 2007, 2014) and Zinedine Zidane (2016, 2017, 2018).
- Having also led PSG to the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League final, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is the first manager to reach the European Cup/Champions League final in consecutive seasons with different clubs. Tuchel could be the third manager to lose a final in consecutive seasons, after Marcello Lippi (1997 & 1998, Juventus) and Héctor Cúper (2000 & 2001, Valencia).