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Chelsea are the kings of Europe

Chelsea won the Champions League title on Saturday after beating Manchester City 1-0 at the Estadio Dragao in Porto. 

The all-important goal was scored by the most expensive player in Chelsea’s history, Kai Havertz.

The move started with a goal kick by Édouard Mendy. After a Ben Chilwell lay-off, Mason Mount looked up and gave a 45 yard pass that was met by a surging Havertz.

Werner’s run had dragged the City defenders out of position leaving a huge pocket of empty space for Havertz to run into.

Havertz got there ahead of the rushing Ederson, rounded him off and rolled the ball into the empty net.

Man City lacked their usual fluency and barely created any chances.

And when captain Kevin De Bruyne had to be subbed off in the second half after colliding with Antonio Rüdiger. the writing was on the wall.

Hindsight is a great teacher but the biggest surprise was the absence of a defensive midfielder in the Man City line-up.

No Fernandinho. No Rodri.

Instead, Ilkay Gundogan, City’s top scorer this season, dropped back into a deeper position in midfield, with Raheem Sterling picked as an extra attacking player.

Oleksandr Zinchenko was preferred to Man City’s player of the season, Joao Cancelo at left back.

However, these ‘tactical tweaks’ hurt City as it allowed Chelsea’s Kante to totally dominate the midfield and eventually, that’s where the battle was lost.

Kante’s scorecard read – Two interceptions, three tackles, two clearances, and 11 of 15 duels won.

He also drew two fouls, had a key pass, and completed two of two dribbles – which won him the Man of the Match award.

For Guardiola, it was a chastening experience.

He has sometimes been accused of overthinking his tactics when it comes to the crunch matches in the Champions League and his decision to go without Rodri or Fernandinho was one more example of that.

However, Man City can’t complain as they were thoroughly outplayed as Chelsea could have scored more.

Striker Timo Werner missed two glorious opportunities in the opening stages and Christian Pulisic shot wide in the second half. 

Notable landmarks

For manager Tuchel and defender Thiago Silva, it was a sweet redemption after having lost to Bayern Munich in last year’s Champion League final.

Christian Pulisic became the first American male to play in a Champions League final.

Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy made history as well, becoming the first African goalkeeper to play in a Champion’s League final.

Mendy’s clean sheet is his ninth in 12 Champions League matches this season, the most ever in a single campaign.

Man City Line-up

  • Ederson
  • Kyle Walker
  • John Stones
  • Ruben Dias
  • Oleksandr Zinchenko
  • Bernardo Silva
  • Ilkay Gundogan
  • Phil Foden
  • Riyad Mahrez
  • Kevin De Bruyne
  • Raheem Sterling

Substitutes

  • Nathan Ake
  • Fernando Gabriel Jesus(60′)
  • Sergio Aguero(77′)
  • Zackary Steffen
  • Aymeric Laporte
  • Rodrigo Hernandez Rodri
  • Ferran Torres
  • Benjamin Mendy
  • Luis Fernandinho(64′)
  • Joao Cancelo
  • Scott Carson
  • Eric Garcia

Chelsea Line-up

  • Edouard Mendy
  • Cesar Azpilicueta
  • Thiago Silva
  • Antonio Rudiger
  • Reece James
  • Ngolo Kante
  • Jorginho
  • Ben Chilwell
  • Kai Havertz
  • Mason Mount
  • Timo Werner

Substitutes

  • Kepa Arrizabalaga
  • Marcos Alonso
  • Andreas Christensen(39′)
  • Christian Pulisic(66′)
  • Willy Caballero
  • Kurt Zouma
  • Mateo Kovacic(80′)
  • Olivier Giroud
  • Callum Hudson-Odoi
  • Hakim Ziyech
  • Billy Gilmour
  • Emerson Palmieri

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