Comparing Chelsea and Manchester City’s build-up to the Champions League final

The two sides face each other in the Premier League on Saturday.
Comparing Chelsea and Manchester City’s build-up to the Champions League final

By Nick Purewal, PA

Manchester City will host Chelsea on Saturday in a Premier League match to act as a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final.

Here, the PA news agency plots the route to that European showdown in Istanbul.

Can either side keep their powder dry at the Etihad

Chelsea dismantled City 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-finals on April 17, putting paid to Pep Guardiola’s bid for an unprecedented quadruple. City paid the price for wholesale changes for that Wembley clash, as Chelsea dominated throughout. While City could technically afford a repeat on Saturday, victory will also seal the Premier League title. Chelsea, meanwhile, are desperate for a top-four finish and must keep on chasing points. And so whatever the temptations it appears tricky for either manager to ease off this weekend.

Chelsea bid to keep the double dream alive

Defeat Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester in the FA Cup final on May 15, and Chelsea will wind up gunning for a cup double. That would prove the perfect end to an initially fractious season, highlighted by Frank Lampard’s sacking in January. Thomas Tuchel has whipped the Blues into superb shape, however, with major silverware now tantalisingly within reach.

City look to see out the league in style

Guardiola’s men have long since been mere formalities away from winning the league. Chelsea, Newcastle, Brighton and Everton represents a relatively straightforward fixture run to close the campaign. But the league’s best team will hope to make a statement in those four remaining matches, to act as a warning shot ahead of the Champions League showdown in Turkey.

Avoid the urge to tinker

Pep Guardiola File Photo
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, pictured, will know now is not the time for big changes (Trenka Atilla/PA)

Both managers will know full well that the approaches that have carried their teams to the final will be those to work best in the showpiece encounter. Now is not the time to start making big changes or even to look at touching up the tactical blueprints. The battle of wits between Guardiola and Tuchel could prove fascinating, but must surely start with both men holding their nerve in the long build-up.

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