Date: Saturday 8th May 2021
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Kick-off: 17:30 BST
After the almost surreal experience of comfortably beating Real Madrid midweek to book our place in the Champions League final, this evening’s game sees us take on our Champions League final opponents in the Premier League.
City supporters didn’t fancy us in the final, apparently because we put ten men behind the ball but given we could easily have scored 6 against Real Madrid if we’d been a bit more clinical in our finishing, I reckon they just knew we’d be the tougher side to face.
City impressed no-one early on in the season but since finding their rhythm, they’ve been pretty relentless. They could have won the league already if United had lost to Liverpool last weekend although clearly the United supporters didn’t want to risk that and managed to get the game postponed. So, thanks to them, we’ll be facing a City side geared up to throw everything at us to secure their third title in four seasons.
We dumped City out of the FA Cup semi-final, putting paid to any hopes they had of a quadruple this season, I’m not sure how many we had behind the ball that day but I’d say we need that many there again today if we’ve got any hope of making the most of Leicester’s slip yesterday.
Going into today’s game, Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, says “Chelsea has done remarkably in the last period, winning games, they play good, they have always been there every year fighting for titles in Europe, it’s not a surprise. I have a lot of respect for Thomas. He has been in Mainz, Dortmund, PSG and now here. Every place he’s been he’s always done really well and his teams are always a joy to watch.
There is not one thought about the final because we don’t have the Premier League in our hands. When we have the Premier League, then the focus will be on the Champions League. Always I have said the Premier League is the most important title. Financially for the club, maybe qualifying for the Champions League is the most important but there is no doubt this is the most important. The Champions League is so special, it is nice, but this means so many things. We have four games to get two points, one victory, and we are going to try to get it.”
Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, says “The possibility they (City) can become champions if they win against us will not lower their determination. They had one more day to recover, they don’t have to travel, it gives them a bit the upper hand. We saw how crucial that can be these days when they arrived at Wembley in the [FA Cup] semi-final and we had one more day. We have to deal with it. I try to prepare it in the normal way. The challenge right now is to get our tiredness out of the legs and out of our brains, to refocus – this is the target right now, to be in good shape tomorrow.
If you play against Pep you know the most difficult games have arrived, because he is the coach of the best teams in Europe. He leaves his footprint, his style of play is full of courage and quality. His teams are always super hungry to win. He transforms any team into a winning machine. It was like this with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and it’s the same with Man City. They are the benchmark in the league, it’s a big gap, but like we did in the [FA Cup] semi-final it’s on us to close the gap for 90 minutes, then we will do the same thing in the final.”
For Manchester City, John Stones is suspended although Eric Garcia could be back following an illness.
For Chelsea, Mateo Kovacic (hamstring) remains out.
MANCHESTER CITY (Possible line-up): Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Silva, Rudiger, Christensen; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell, Mount, Pulisic, Havertz
CURRENT FORM (PL)
MANCHESTER CITY: WWWLWW
- Manchester City have lost to Chelsea in 26 Premier League matches.
- Chelsea have lost nine of their past 12 fixtures at the Etihad
- Chelsea have lost on each of their past three away games to City in the league.
- Manchester City have won 20 of their past 22 in the Premier League.
- Manchester City have lost two of their past three home league games
- Chelsea are unbeaten in our last 11 away matches in all competitions
- Chelsea are winless in all four league games in 2020-21 against the three teams currently above them in the table.
BBC Sport: Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea
Sky Sports: Manchester City 0-0 Chelsea
Sportsmole: Manchester 1-1 Chelsea