Manchester City will face Chelsea in the Champions League 2020-21 final at Estadio do Dragao on Sunday. This will be Chelsea’s third appearance in the Champions League finals, while Manchester City qualified for the finals for the first time in the competition's history. This is only the third all-English finals in the competition, and City and Chelsea face each other for the fourth time in the season across all competitions. City are the only team to remain unbeaten in the competition, while Chelsea have won over City twice in all competitions this season. This opens up to some intriguing contests in the match that could decide the fate of the two teams on Sunday.
Here are some key battles to watch out for as Manchester City take on Chelsea in the Champions League final:
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1)Riyad Mahrez vs Thiago Silva
Mahrez has been highly influential in City’s success in the knockout games. He is also the team’s top scorer in the Champions League with four goals, with all of them coming in the knockout stages. He also has two assists to his name. Mahrez is known to have the guile of a skillful winger. He makes forward runs in the right flank, takes on defenders in one-on-one situations, cuts into his stronger left foot to take a shot, also has a useful weak foot.
If anyone can be up for the task to nullify Mahrez on the big night, it has to be Thiago Silva with all his experience and quality. Silva has been one of the best centre-backs in the world in the last decade or so. He is known for his ability to read his opponents, and also is a good passer of the ball. He is also no stranger to playing a game of this magnitude since this would be his second Champions League final appearance in a row.
2)Kevin de Bruyne vs Ngolo Kante
This would be the battle that could decide the fate of the two teams. Kevin de Bruyne is usually City’s engine on the field. He dictates the tempo, creates big chances, is a good finisher, and also their go-to dead-ball specialist. Technically, he is one of the best players in the world.
On the other hand, Ngolo Kante could be just the man for the job. The Frenchman is an epitome of a box-to-box player. He helps the defense in the defensive third, helps the attack in the final third, and presses hard in the midfield, and wins possession. His work rate and the ability to win possessions are his standout qualities, and he might have to do just that to match someone of de Bruyne’s caliber.
3) Phil Foden vs Mason Mount
The battle of two talented young Englishmen and the graduates of their respective clubs’ academies, will be yet another highly anticipated contest. There will be scrutiny by the England management on the two as this could decide their fate going forward into Euro 2020 that is set to take place in mid-June. This has been the duo’s breakout season and have emerged to be one of the first names on the team sheets in the starting XI. Foden, 20, has 14 goals and 7 assists in all competitions, and Mount, 22, has 8 goals and 6 assists.