Manchester City v Chelsea kicks off in under a day and the whole city supporters of the club could not be more excited. A match featuring plenty of storylines from players, the coaches and it being an all English affair. The talking points are fun and now we get to the meat of the discussion.
What will be the keys for Manchester City to beat Chelsea in the Champions League final?
1 The Striker-less system needs to be flawless
Manchester City have found success this season playing without a striker and it’s not by accident. Pep Guardiola’s tactical awareness has facilitated this, but on Saturday it needs to be flawless. Whether it’s Kevin De Bruyne or Phil Foden acting as the ‘false 9’ the player needs to be aware and act appropriately in pulling the center backs to him to allow wingers and the midfielders space to operate.
Especially with the 3-4-3 style Chelsea will probably line up in, it is critical this player create heavy movement to create chaos for himself and others to score. Lastly, one of the staples of this system is pulling players forward so a running midfielder can run up to the top of the box and finish a ball from one of the wingers. It’s why Ilkay Gundogan has been our top scorer this season, that play works. Keep doing it.
2 The destroyer needs to be aggressive
Whether it’s Rodri or Fernandinho the destroyer type needs to be aggressive. Chelsea have a stacked midfield and whoever is entrusted in this position needs to be more aggressive than usual to stave off attacks from Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount. This player will be key as he will protect the CB’s from being exposed and with support from the other midfielders needs to take chances to cut off lanes and maybe put a shoulder on some of those creative players early so as to let them know every pass will be earned and not given. It could determine the entire match.
3 No errors in the defense
While seemingly obvious, this is very important. City players have been a bit mistake prone in the past from a John Stones hiccup to Ederson coming out at an inopportune time, these mistakes need to be gone for City to prevail. A match like they played v Everton was a great litmus test as it was nearly perfect. I have no doubt Ruben Dias will have the backline locked in and focused so as to avoid these mistakes.
Well, that will do it. What is your one key for City to win the match?