UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE · Sat (5/29) @ 12:00 pm ET
|Porto's Estadio do Dragao, Porto, WY|
After 13 seasons of ownership, in which it has spent nearly $3 billion in player acquisitions and salaries, the Abu Dhabi City Group finally sits on the precipice of greatness.
Finally, its coveted Manchester City is in a Champions League finale, a first for the group and a first for the club. A joyous occasion for all City supporters, especially those weaned on the sky blues, like Liam and Noel Gallagher.
- Manchester City -110 vs. Chelsea +340, Total 2½, Saturday, 3 pm ET
- Action: Man City -110 and Over 2½ +126
They were the heart of the BritPop group Oasis, which broke up 12 years ago due to relentless infighting. They’ve cavorted with City boss Pep Guardiola on the Etihad Stadium pitch and mingled with players in the dressing room.
Liam took to Twitter to appeal for a ducat to the final in Portugal. Porto it’s me wonderwall dude let me in, wrote Liam.
Due to virus concerns, the title match was shifted from Istanbul, Turkey, to Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Portugal, to accommodate 6,000 fans from both Chelsea and Man City. Seating will be capped at 16,500.
Whether Liam Gallagher purloins one of those tickets remains to be seen. Wherever he watches, he will rejoice that his side is on a Champagne Supernova, poised to conquer Europe.
This is the final the Continent has dreaded. For the second time in three years, the Champions League championship match is being decided by two English clubs. In 2019, Liverpool defeated Tottenham.
Moreover, had Villarreal not beaten Arsenal in a Europa League semifinal, the other big European tourney—the Europa League—would have also pitted two English sides (Manchester United got there) against each other in its finale.
|William Hill Sportsbook||Moneyline||Total Goals||Goal Line|
|Manchester City||-110||O 2.5 (+126)||-0.5 (-113)|
|Chelsea||+340||U 2.5 (-151)||+0.5 (-121)|
The television revenue commanded by the Premier League in England has set it apart from its Big Five brethren (which includes the Bundesliga in Germany, La Liga in Spain, Ligue 1 in France and Serie A in Italy).
Barcelona FC, for example, is sitting on debts of more than $1 billion.
Both of these coaches are familiar with this stage.
The Spanish Guardiola guided Barça to CL glory in 2009 and ’11. Thomas Tuchel, the German gaffer who replaced Frank Lampard at Chelsea in January, was in this spot last year with Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG, though, lost to Bayern Munich.
The European press has been particularly interested in Antonio Mateu Lahoz’s appointment as referee for this match. Lahoz dispatched Guardiola to the stands during a quarterfinal defeat to Liverpool in 2018.
“I could not care less,” Guardiola told the BBC. “I am so confident in my team. You cannot imagine how confident I am in my team and what we have to do.”
De Bruyne Da Maestro
City enters the match as a decided favorite for good reason, due mainly to maestro Kevin De Bruyne, who’s been assisting danger men Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, and Sergio Agüero with aplomb.
In its past six matches, in all competitions, City is 4-2, having outscored foes 16-8. Pep’s 4-2-3-1 alignment has gummed up opponents, who have attempted only 19 shots on target in City’s past four games.
Five matches ago, PSG failed to produce a single shot on goal against City.
And in the woodwork, only Lille’s Mike Maignan (21) recorded more clean sheets in the Big Five than City’s Ederson (19). Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy is right behind Ederson, in Premier League keeper class, but City has too much firepower.
Americans In Europe
Chelsea striker Christian Pulisic has had impressive stretches for his English side, and Zack Steffen’s presence at City guarantees that one American will be lifting the Trophy with Big Ears.
This is the first time players from the US national team occupy roster spots on both teams in a Champions League finale.
Pulisic, however, has been beset by hamstring issues in recent seasons and months. If he starts, there’s no guarantee he will finish. If Tuchel gets him in the second half, the match might already have been lost.
City is just too tough, has too many options. Even if Chelsea does not score, City alone could take care of this Over.
Come Saturday evening, we peg that the Gallagher boys will be very happy. As long as they stay away from each other.