THE MTAG WRITERS PICK THEIR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNER
The picturesque Estádio do Dragão awaits as Manchester City and Chelsea go toe-to-toe in an all-English final. With several narratives within this battle between the blues, from Kevin De Bruyne perpetually itching to make a point against his former employers to Pep vs Tuchel, it promises to be an intriguing contest between the two sides.
The MTAG writers are as over the moon about the final as anyone else and so, they’ve decided to put their heads together and predict the biggest game in club football.
Without further ado, here are our picks.
Kabir Ali- Manchester City 2 Chelsea 1
City have been the outstanding side in Europe in 2021 and will soon have their first Champions League title to show for it. Pep Guardiola has built a formidable winning machine over the past 5 seasons in Manchester and their individual superiority might just be too much for Chelsea to handle.
Although Pep has already been beaten twice by Thomas Tuchel in the latter’s short time at Chelsea, his and City’s hunger after years of heartbreak in this competition will translate into them wanting it more. Tuchel’s time will surely come, but losses in must-win games recently shows his team aren’t ready to topple the Sky Blues just yet.
Amogh Panse (The Fan View)- Chelsea 2 Manchester City 1
We’ve done it before, we surely can do it again. If I’m not predicting a positive outcome for the club I love, what am I doing? Chelsea’s finest performances have come against the heavyweights with the tactical dominance that the genius in Thomas Tuchel has influenced. And while this time around we square off against a man Tuchel considers a huge inspiration in Guardiola, I expected the German to make it 3 out of 3 wins.
The battle is and always will be in the midfield to see who can cut off De Bruyne’s magic (not just Kante, but Jorginho and Mount too) but also if Chelsea can stretch the game, using their flying wing-backs and the diagonal balls towards them. Defensively, the threat of Aguero looms large on a final goodbye, apart from the Sky Blues’ embarrassment of riches with a lacklustre Jorginho tipping the scales.
A counter-attacking Tuchel side will be a thorn in City’s side and with Werner’s excellent movement, they’d be hoping to drag the likes of Stones and Dias out of position and wreak havoc in between the lines.
Let’s pray that this isn’t a repeat of the last English final but a closely-contested Battle of the Blues. A Kante masterclass and a Werner goal (if only) to whisk it away, is all I ask.
Harshavardhan Ghadge- Manchester City 3 Chelsea 0
If Thanos was to snap his fingers on Saturday morning and make half of the City squad disappear, the bookmakers would still bet their houses on Pep Guardiola’s side to bring the Champions Legaue trophy home. That is exactly how dominating Manchester City have been this season. ‘Champions of Europe’- the final piece of the crowning diamond missing in Pep’s opulent masterpiece. In terms of personnel, Manchester City have assembled quite the group.
World’s most talented youngster? Check. The best centre-back in Europe this season? Yes indeed. The best midfielder on the planet? All hail KDB. Given the form some of the men in sky blue have enjoyed through the course of the campaign, it really seems beyond Chelsea to usurp the high-flying Manchester City.
There can be arguments made about the underdog story given Villareal’s victory in Gdansk, but the David vs Goliath narrative has no legs here, given the well-oiled, in-sync machine that Pep deploys.
Tuchel might well have some tricks up his sleeves but that for me is not a good enough reason to believe that his young Chelsea side would be able to halt the City juggernaut.
C.C. Chengappa- Chelsea 2 Manchester 2 AET (Chelsea win on penalties)
There is one thing that football always guarantees regardless of-pre conceived expectations: hope. One of the reasons why people were incessant on the removal of the Super League was because Champions League nights were special and encompassed what hope was all about. Many fans might consider Chelsea as the underdogs this time and harp on about what a well-oiled machine this season.
But Tuchel has transformed Chelsea and despite the recent run of results, they’re my pick.
When Guardiola and gang turn up on the special night they have so eagerly looked forward to, the German tactician will right the wrongs from his loss against Bayern last season.
2012 and now, 2021.
Srinivas Sadhanand (The Fan View)- Manchester City 1 Chelsea 0
For me, as terrific as Thomas Tuchel is, he isn’t far enough in his project with Chelsea to call his side the finished article. Pep Guardiola, on the other hand can.
City are on the verge of a treble after pretty much completing domestic football and by overcoming adversity against Dortmund and PSG to brush them aside and reach the final, this team has the bottle in Europe its predecessors didn’t.
Defensively, the Blues are a match for anyone but going forward, the lack of a clinical finisher compounded with the absence of a creative partner in crime for Mason Mount makes Chelsea a tad toothless in the final third. The FA Cup final against Leicester is a prime example of this.
Compare that to Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Ilkay Gundogan Bernardo Silva linking up together, taking their fluid false 9 system into consideration as well and it isn’t a level playing field from a creative standpoint.
A low-drilled KDB winner in the 2nd half settles this for me because the Belgian saves his best for Chelsea for obvious reasons.
Samridh Sinha- Manchester City 3 Chelsea 1
I believe City are going to warm their hands with the elusive Champions League trophy for the very first time. As resolute as Chelsea’s defence is, the free-flowing style of Pep’s army is going to be a handful for the Blues.
N’Golo Kante has to be at his absolute best to have any chance at Chelsea winning their 2nd Champions League trophy. Furthermore, Tuchel and Co. need to forego their habit of squandering goalscoring opportunities considering they won’t have a whole lot come Saturday.
As long as Foden, De Bruyne and Dias do their thing, I don’t see the Sky Blues having too much of a problem. Having said that, the format of a final is unforgiving in nature and no team is unbeatable in a final of the Champions League.
With that being said, I predict a comfortable win for City.