Chelsea has won the Uefa Champions League for the second time in their history after defeating Pep Guardiola’s Man City. The game started in a high octane fashion with both sides creating some clear-cut chances. While Raheem Sterling fluffed his lines in front of the Chelsea goal, Kai Havertz made no mistake and put Chelsea in the lead with the help of a sumptuous through ball from Mason Mount just before halftime.
In the second half, City came out all guns blazing, mounting attack after attack. But they failed to put the ball in the back of the net. Chelsea slowly but surely grew into the second half creating chances of their own, Pulisic had a glorious chance to the game to bed, unfortunately, akin to his teammate Werner, failed to capitalize. As the game got to the final phase, City kept pushing for the equalizer but Chelsea’s backline was a tough nut to crack.
Manager Thomas Tuchel got his tactics spot on. Chelsea stuck to their 3-4-3 diamond formation, with Thiago Silva, Rüdiger, and Azpilicueta providing defensive resilience. In the midfield, they had the best midfielder in the world, N’golo Kante. Kante played his best game in a Chelsea shirt in the final. Making scores of interceptions, cutting off passing lanes for the city midfielders. Tuchel went with an attacking line of Werner, mount, and Havertz. Notwithstanding Werners bad finishing, his runs in behind City’s backline were brilliant. These runs slowly opened up City’s defense, and in the 42nd minute, Chelsea finally got their reward. Mount mount produced a defense-splitting pass to kai Havertz who nonchalantly evaded the city keeper and passed the ball into an open net. After the goal, Chelsea decided to switch to a low block. Apart from a couple of good crosses from Kyle walker, Chelsea was comfortable at the back.
It is hard to believe that this Chelsea side was the same team that got battered 7-1 against Bayern Munich last season. It just goes to show the difference a world-class manager could make to any team.
Pep Guardiola’s Blunder
While no one can question pep’s caliber as a coach, he often tends to overthink in big games. Guardiola, to the surprise of many, decided to start with Raheem Sterling up front, sterling has barely played for City this season, and his inclusion in the squad baffled the city faithfully. Fernandinho has been the anchor in City’s midfield this season. His presence allowed the likes of De Bruyne, Gündoğan, and Foden to push upfront without worrying about getting caught on the break. But Pep decided to bench him in the biggest game of the season. Fernandinho’s absence was quite evident as City was constantly getting caught on the break. The Havertz goal might not have happened if Fernandinho was playing. Man City’s wait for their first-ever champions league trophy continues, the only piece of silverware missing in their cabinet. They’ll have to take it on the chin, consider his defeat as a part of their learning curve and try again next season.
N’golo Kante’s Brilliance
The pocket-sized dynamo has done it again. Although Havertz got the winning goal for Chelsea, Kante was the star of the match. “They say 70% of the world is covered in water and the rest is covered by N’golo Kante” this quote personifies Kante’s performance in the final, He was everywhere – defense, attack, midfield you name it. The only position he did not cover was that of the goalkeeper and I’m sure he would have excelled at that as well. Based on his performances for Chelsea this season, it would be unfair if he failed to win the Ballon d’Or.
More football to come in the summer
Although European club football comes to an end, the action continues in the summer with the Euro 2020 and Copa America. We will bring you updates about all things football for the next two months. From Messi’s Argentine to Ronaldo’s Portugal, football aficionados are in for a treat this summer.
Also Read: Champions League final 2021 Thoughts