Manchester City vs. Chelsea Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Blues Hoist 2021 Champions League Trophy?
Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images. Pictured: The Chelsea and Manchester City logos emblazon the wall outside Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Portugal.
- Updated odds for Chelsea vs. Manchester City list the Cityzens as a heavy favorite to win the 2021 Champions League title.
- Chelsea has gotten the best of Man City over the last two months, thanks to stifling defensive efforts by Thomas Tuchel's Blues.
- Brad Cunningham breaks down his Man City vs. Chelsea prediction with a full preview below.
|Man City Odds||-114|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+123 / -157)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 3 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||CBS | Univision | Paramount+|
|Odds updated Friday afternoon via DraftKings|
The Champions League final is finally here and the trophy will be coming back to England, due to the fact we have a showdown between Premier League giants Manchester City and Chelsea to decide the title.
These teams are probably sick of seeing either because this will be the third time they’re squaring off in less than two months. Chelsea won both meetings, earning a 1-0 victory in an FA Cup semifinal at Stamford Bridge and a 2-1 triumph at Etihad Stadium in Premier League play.
Both Manchester City and Chelsea took care of business in the UCL knockout stage and haven’t really been tested up to this point so we truly have the two best teams squaring off in championship.
Manchester City Has Put Together Historic Campaign
The Cityzens were crowned champions in England’s top flight last weekend and it was truly deserved, because they were the best in England by a pretty clear distance.
Manchester City has been incredibly dominant defensively this season, allowing just 0.75 xG per match in the Premier League and Champions League. And if goes without saying the biggest reason for the Cityzens’ run has been their defensive dominance.
Manager Pep Guardiola made a change at both center-back positions back in December, putting John Stones and Rúben Dias together. That was a move that has done wonders for the Manchester City defense, turning it into one of the best units in the world.
The other reason for their improvement is because Guardiola switched the Cityzens from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a traditional 4-3-3 setup. The switch has produced fantastic results, as they’re averaging 2.04 xG per 90 minutes, while allowing only 0.99 xG per 90 minutes when playing out of the 4-3-3 formation.
However, it will be interesting to see if Guardiola goes to his favored 4-3-3 approach against Chelsea, because in the previous two matches against its foe, he played 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 formations.
Tuchel’s Arrival, Midseason Makeover Reaps Rewards
Chelsea went through a complete transformation when Thomas Tuchel took the reins of the club. The Blues will be well-equipped to handle the Cityzens’ attack, because under Tuchel, their defense has been outstanding. Since Tuchel assumed control on Jan. 27, Chelsea’s defense has allowed just 0.58 xG per match combined in Premier League and Champions League action.
Tactically, Tuchel changed Chelsea’s system to a 3-4-2-1 from the 4-3-3 used by Lampard, which has allowed Chelsea to become more unpredictable. The main objective of the 3-4-2-1 is to completely overwhelm opposing defenses by outnumbering them on the counter attack.
The new formation allows Chelsea some tactical flexibility, giving it the option to adjust on the fly based on how the match is going. That has led to Chelsea dominating possession and keep opponents on their toes. The Blues should be able to handle the Cityzens’ 4-3-3, since that’s the formation they used to play in and they see it on a regular basis in England’s first division.
The change has done wonders, as Chelsea has a 1.31 xGD per 90 minutes when playing out of the 3-4-2-1 formation.
However, in both matches versus Manchester City, Chelsea lost the battle of expected goals. In fact, Chelsea didn’t create more than one expected goal in either contest, so I expect the final to be very defensive and feature a similar style of play to that of their FA Cup semifinal meeting back in April.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Chelsea is the one team in the world that has given Manchester City the most fits this season and Tuchel’s tactical success against it cannot be ignored in this match. It’s always difficult to beat a team three times, but Chelsea has shown it’s equal to Manchester City.
Since I only have the Cityzens projected at -134 odds to lift the trophy, I am going to back the Blues to lift the trophy at +165 via DraftKings as my top pick.
Pick: Chelsea to Lift the Trophy (+165)