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Champions League Final Predictions: City to win low-scoring encounter

Pep Guardiola is looking to win the Champions League with Manchester City for the first time
Pep Guardiola is looking to win the Champions League with Manchester City for the first time
By Neil Monnery

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An All-English Champions League Final between Chelsea and Manchester City will finish the club season in Europe on Saturday with the latter being odds-on favorites with the Sportsbooks. Neil Monnery has an overview of the game...

Up until the middle of the season, Manchester City were scuffling somewhat before they moved to a false nine up front and things started to tick. German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan may well have saved their season when he went on a tear in the winter months and he may well be their MVP. Pep Guardiola will be delighted that the 30 year-old has shaken off a recent fitness scare and is likely to start.

Over in the UK in the past couple of months, plenty of column inches have been dedicated to the young English midfielder Phil Foden and for good reason. His game has come on leaps and bounds to such a degree that he’s a must-start for both club and country despite his tender years. The Champions League final will be a day after his 21st birthday and unlike a traditional birthday for a 21 year-old of drinking too much and having a crazy night out, he’ll be preparing to announce himself to a worldwide audience as one of the stars of the world's game.

City will be led by Belgian superstar Kevin de Bruyne who is expected to lead the line in that false nine position. The midfielder is already regarded by most as one of the top players in the game and shows his versatility by playing this role. Sergio Aguero will leave City after this game and looks set to start the game on the bench.

Chelsea’s route to the final has been one of the more surprising and impressive in recent years. In six knock-out games against Atletico Madrid, Porto and Real Madrid, they’ve only conceded twice. That is an excellent defensive record and something Manchester City will have to be weary of.

Manager Thomas Tuchel has certainly sorted out their frailty at the back. What he hasn’t been able to do however is show off their expensive selection of attacking talent. American Christian Pulisic has struggled to recapture his form of a year-ago under Tuchel but has become more of a regular starter in recent weeks. Seven goals for a season however is well below what you’d expect from such a talent.

One of Chelsea’s biggest issues is their lack of a focal point in attack. Timo Werner came in for big bucks in the summer but has not managed to be the goal scoring threat that was expected. He’s only found the back of the net three times in 21 starts since the new manager replaced Frank Lampard Jr. in January.

Here’s a stat that might be worth noting - in the 24 games since Tuchel came in - Chelsea games have only hit the over 2.5 goals mark six times. They’ve also only conceded in seven games.

Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 in the FA Cup Semi-Final back in April and surprised many by winning at the Etihad 1-2 in the league earlier this month. It is tough to beat a team three times in the space of two months but does Tuchel have the key to beat Guardiola?

 

Picks:

Earlier in the week I absolutely nailed the Europa League final. Four picks and four winning bets. Talk about setting yourself up for a fall…

The stats indicate this will be a tight and low-scoring encounter. The Sportsbooks clearly agree as under 2.5 goals is best-priced -152 as of Friday morning with Resorts Casino and Bet America.

I don’t buy that Tuchel has the wood over Pep Guardiola so I do think the favorites win. They are best-priced -103 to win in 90 minutes with William Hill NJ. I think that is a fairly decent price.

City to win 1-0 (+510) or 2-0 (+750) in 90 minutes are certainly decent shouts. Those best prices are with UniBet and PointsBet respectively. 

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