Key Players for the Champions League Final
Posted by FFPundits
12:50pm May 26 2021
Premier League rivals Man City and Chelsea face off in the Champions League final this weekend. The two sides faced different challenges to reach the 2020/21 final, and they have both achieved their place in the final through different approaches.
City have a good balance between a solid defence and a ruthless attack. In contrast, Chelsea’s success has been built on defensive foundations, with many players contributing in attack.
Who are the most important players for Chelsea?
Chelsea changed their approach in the Champions League knockout stages as Thomas Tuchel took over at Stamford Bridge. A solid foundation helped the Blues eliminate Atletico Madrid, FC Porto and Real Madrid to reach the final.
This impressive list of scalps claimed on their way to the biggest stage in European football understandably makes City favourites with the bookies ahead of the final, so if you want to get the best betting bonuses by backing the blues, read our list below of the key players who could be the defining factor.
Narrow results against these sides were built on a solid back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma, who bolstered Chelsea’s defence and made them hard to beat.
One of the Blues’ stand-out defensive performers has been goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. The French keeper has kept three cleans sheets in 11 Champions League matches and put in sensational displays in the semi-final home leg against Real Madrid, the away quarter-final against Porto and the home tie against Atletico Madrid. Mendy will face a late fitness test ahead of the final following a rib injury against Aston Villa, and his presence could be the difference for the Blues.
In attack, Chelsea’s goals have been spread thinly throughout the squad this season. Tuchel has used a front three or two in the knockout stages, with only Timo Werner regularly starting in attack. Werner has come alive in the second half of the season following a slow start at Stamford Bridge. In the Champions League, the German striker made some key contributions, scoring the opener in Chelsea’s 2-0 home win against Real Madrid and assisted Hakim Ziyech’s goal against Atletico in the last 16.
Werner has been well supported by Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic, who have contributed to the Blues fast counter-attacking approach. But England midfielder Mason Mount has put in several important performances for Chelsea this season, especially against Real Madrid in the home leg of the semi-final.
Who are the most important players for City?
With Guardiola rotating his starting line-up routinely this season, it is difficult to know what he has in store for the Champions League final. However, certain players will be first on the team sheet.
Kevin De Bruyne is City’s biggest creative threat. The Belgian playmaker has 17 assists in all competitions this season and has scored three Champions League goals, including City’s equaliser in the semi-final away leg against Paris St Germain.
Much of City’s quick build-up play goes through De Bruyne. He is likely to see a lot of the ball against Chelsea and will take confidence from his man of the match performance against the Blues at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, where he scored and assisted Phil Foden’s goal in a dominant display.
England starlet Phil Foden is also likely to start. The midfielder has featured in all of City’s 12 Champions League matches, scored three goals and made three assists. Foden also ended the season in good form, scoring two goals in his last two Premier League matches, including a solo goal against Brighton.
With such impressive form and youth on his side, it’s easy to understand why Foden is a favourite with the bookies for scoring on Saturday, so if you think lady luck is on your side but you don’t want to back Foden to net against the blue part of London, you can always enjoy some lower-octane slots at Joreels.com.
A further City threat will come from Riya Mahrez, who has featured heavily in the Champions League. Mahrez was the man of the match in the quarter-final second leg win against Borussia Dortmund and both semi-final wins against PSG. The Algerian scored the winner away against PSG in the semi-final, then put in a man of the match display at the Etihad, scoring both goals in City’s 2-0 home win against the Ligue 1 side.
The Champions League final is set to be an intriguing tactical battle between Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel. The managers have talented squads and vital individual players who could guide either side to Champions League success this Saturday.