How Chelsea Got the Better of Manchester City in the 2021 Champions League Final
In a hard-fought UEFA Champions League final in Porto, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea were able to defeat Guardiola’s Man City with a fearless and disciplined performance. Let’s now take a look into the finer tactical points of this victory.
Chelsea produced an organized, disciplined and determined performance to claim the coveted Champions League trophy against Manchester City.
Putting in a tremendous collective effort to restrict City to just one shot on target, their amazing 1-0 victory was built on their mammoth defensive efforts.
Having lost the final last year with Paris Saint-Germain, Tuchel was delighted to enjoy success this time around, which entirely vindicated Chelsea’s decision to give him the job at the end of last year. “You know I was so grateful to arrive a second time (in the final after doing so with PSG last year) but this felt different. I told people before somehow it was,” Tuchel explained.
“It was an incredibly tough fight, what a fight. Today they were determined to win this. We wanted to be the stone in their (City’s) shoe.”
Getting his game plan and team selection spot on, the German played Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount as his front three, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in central midfield, Ben Chilwell and Reece James at wingback and a back three of Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Defending in 5-2-3 or 4-3-3 type shapes (depending on the scenario) when pressing high or dropping back to more of a 5-4-1 when deeper, Chelsea carried out their stopping strategy brilliantly to stifle their exceptional opponents. Doing a fantastic job of positioning themselves to access their designated opponents while screening forward passing lanes, they were effective at not allowing City to exploit damaging central areas. In addition, how they shifted across, pushed up and dropped back as a unit offered a testament to their manager’s preparations. Rarely allowing City to penetrate through the middle, their horizontal compactness from half space to half made it extremely challenging for City’s gifted attackers to influence proceeding.
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