Manchester City and Chelsea will go head to head for the Champions League trophy in an all-English final on Saturday night. City and Chelsea both cruised through the knockout stages to have a chance to win Europe’s most prestigious title.
Pep Guardiola’s men romped to yet another Premier League title and will be the favourites on Saturday, but the Blues under Thomas Tuchel have improved significantly and have had the upper hand in recent encounters against their Premier League rivals.
The match will feature a whole host of star players and will likely be a closely fought game. A few players may stand out from the rest and could have a key part to play in the game.
Let’s take a look at 5 players to watch out for in the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea.
Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne is perhaps Manchester City’s most important player. The Belgian has had yet another superb season in the middle of the park, scoring 6 goals and assisting 12 times in the league.
de Bruyne might play as a false 9 ahead of the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero. The Belgian has enjoyed prior success in a similar role against the London Blues with his movement and penetration expected to trouble the defence no end.
On the opposite side, Tuchel will be sweating over the fitness of star midfielder N’Golo Kante. Chelsea need the Frenchman in midfield if they stand any chance of winning the Champions League. Kante brings energy to the Chelsea midfield, which is missing when Jorginho plays.
Kante’s industry will be crucial in pressing the City attackers while also posing a threat with his late runs into the box.
The Manchester City centre-back has earned a lot of plaudits for his performances at the back since moving to the club last summer. The recently crowned Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year has brought stability, composure and leadership to the City defence, which seemed to be missing since the departure of club legend Vincent Kompany.
Dias’ passing, which has been very impressive this season, could expose some chinks in the Chelsea defence as well.
Mason Mount has had an excellent season in Chelsea colours and has played his way into being one of the first players on the Blues’ teamsheet under Tuchel. The Englishman will be tasked with the duty of linking midfield and attack, moving the ball with his strong dribbling and passing skills.
Mount will also have to press and not give the City midfield any time on the ball and will have to combine well with Kante and Mateo Kovacic to stop the City juggernaut. His speed could be useful in counter-attacking situations to catch out City’s marauding full-backs.
Manchester City also have a young, attacking, English player that could swing the game their way – Phil Foden. Foden has had a breakthrough season at the club and has taken over the reins superbly from David Silva in midfield. The 20-year-old’s speed, dribbling ability, passing, and goalscoring ability could be vital on Saturday night.
His ability to play in multiple positions could be useful for manager Pep Guardiola if he decides to change tactics during the game.