Man City and Chelsea are slated to kick off against each other in the UEFA Champions League Final on May 29.
Both English teams advanced against their non-English foes in the semifinals. They are two of the biggest clubs in the world, but rarely do two English teams face off against each other in the CL Final.
Now that both faced off in a Premier League match this past Saturday that ended in a 2-1 Chelsea victory, it feels like no better time to review what has gotten both these clubs to this historic moment.
Chelsea and Man City: Football titans
Chelsea and Man City are both huge clubs. The most recent Forbes estimate as of the 2019/2020 season had Chelsea estimated at worth £3.2 billion, and Man City at worth $4 billion. That is to say, these two clubs are flush with dough.
It shouldn’t be very surprising that Man City is in the final. They have been exceptional for years now, especially under Pep Guardiola. And things are shaking up to appear like it may be Man City’s year.
Still, the club has never reached the Champions League final until this year. And when they were slotted to face starstudded last year’s runner-ups in PSG, many thought Man City might fall short yet again.
For Chelsea, its manager Thomas Tuchel only signed on in January of this year. Furthermore, a lot of the team’s players are relatively new, having been signed within the past two seasons.
With this much turnover, clubs usually take some time to get their feet under them. As a collective unit, it is still difficult to gain chemistry without much time. But Chelsea, like Man City, is performing greatly in the past few months. And the best may still be yet to come.
Two types of roster construction
Man City is known for being able to back up the brink’s truck for players they want. Much of the roster construction over the years for City was finding the best players available and making a run at them. But what the squad has done recently is much more commendable.
The consistency of the players playing with each other is a big reason for the team’s success. It is why players can switch positions for different games, such as Kevin De Bruyne playing a false 9, or Zinchenko playing midfield or fullback. The squad has chemistry together, and knows what they need to do to put each other in prosperous positions.
Still, none of it would be possible without Pep Guardiola leading the way. He knows how to build a squad around its talents, and he has set up the likes of De Bruyne, Sterling, Mahrez, and more to be as successful as they could possibly be.
On the other side of things, Tuchel has changed the culture around Chelsea, to where the club is winning essentially every big game they play.
Chelsea’s team, filled with new-ish players, has found a proper balance. And also, it knows where on the pitch it can take advantage of, and where it should hold back. Superstar defensive midfielder N’Golo Kanté deserves as much credit as any player in the world for his team’s success, and if Chelsea wins the CL Final, it will likely be because of a huge game from Kanté.
Will Chelsea and Man City’s success change European football?
Often it is Spanish football that is sought to be emulated. Barcelona for years has been the pinnacle of beautiful football. If not them, Madrid has seen more success than anyone.
But with two English teams fighting for the ultimate crown, it is worth wondering whether or not other clubs on the continent, yet outside of the island, will want to emulate Pep and Tuchel. Chelsea has a young squad that only seems to be getting better. They spent money on their squad, but didn’t buy the most expensive players, instead focusing on a lot more lowkey ones.
And City has focused on pace, agility, and domination through consistency and interchangeable parts. Outside clubs must ponder the idea of, if even on a smaller scale, seeking to do the same.
Chelsea and Man City’s bout on May 29 is sure to be epic. Let’s appreciate the incredible skill, while also keeping an investigative eye towards the future of European football.