A jam-packed club campaign like no other comes to a conclusion in Porto on Saturday, when the biggest prize in European football is decided as Manchester City clash with Chelsea in the Champions League final.
This final looks set to be a tight all-Premier League affair and given there is unlikely to be an avalanche of goals there is a fair chance of at least extra-time and penalties, just like in the Europa League final won by Villarreal over Manchester United on Wednesday.
Chelsea Capable of Blunting City
Given the fine margins involved, Thomas Tuchel’s outsiders are of interest at
21/10 to lift the Champions League trophy for a second time, although a smarter bet is the tie or a Blues win in 90 minutes on the double-chance market at
Chelsea have already beaten the Premier League champions twice under Tuchel – first in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley – which denied City a quadruple bid and then at the Etihad to elongate the championship-sealing success for another week.
The issue for Chelsea has been scoring goals and they became the first club since Everton in 1910/11 to finish in the top four of England’s top division despite failing to have a player reach double figures.
However, the Londoners defend well and they have knocked out Atletico and Real Madrid in the Champions League, as well as landing impressive away wins at the Etihad and Anfield since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in the hottest of hotseats that is the Stamford Bridge revolving door.
Set-pieces Could Decide Final
City are the best team in England and arguably the best team in Europe, but they only won just five of the 12 games played against other teams who finished in the top seven of the Premier League and the usual striker-less shape is more about midfield control rather than battering opponents these days.
That suggests this will be a tight encounter, full of tactical tinkerings between two of the best coaches in world football, and Pep Guardiola will have his hands full thinking of ways to manoeuvre such well-organised opponents out of shape.
City won the Carabao Cup against Tottenham with a set-piece – defender Aymeric Laporte the beneficiary – so Dias could well follow suit and Rudiger was on target in Chelsea’s penultimate fixture of the Premier League season against Leicester City.
All Hail Cesar Card Bet
There were five yellow cards in the FA Cup semi-final showdown between these two sides at Wembley, with Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta one of those to enter the notebook.
The Spanish defender, booked against Leicester and sent off against Aston Villa in his last two matches is of interest at
5/2 to receive a card.
If Oleksandr Zinchenko starts at left-back for the Citizens, he would be another to consider at
*All odds correct at time of writing