Chelsea, one of the top English football clubs, has emerged as the champions in the UEFA Champions League 2021 by defeating Manchester City, another popular Premier League outfit, in the final by 1-0. The club owned by Roman Abramovich, the famous Russian-Israeli billionaire, has its base at Fulham in London and is known to be the world’s sixth most valuable club. The fans have been treated to many a scintillating match at the club’s home ground Stamford Bridge as well as at other international venues. This time, the Blues have given them one more reason to celebrate by conquering Europe at the Estadio do Dragao stadium in Porto, Portugal. Here are some major talking points from the UEFA Champions League 2021 Final.
Another Heartbreak for Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola, as Man City’s manager, has steered the side to many a triumph ever since he took charge. However, the first European crown has always eluded him despite all the efforts. It was a first-ever UCL final for the club. After getting the better of Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-finals with a 4-1 aggregate win, City’s prospects of being the champions looked brighter.
Thanks to some magnificent performances throughout the tournament, Pep had almost everything working in his favor. But Chelsea once again proved to be the main hurdle, as always. As a matter of fact, Pep has lost more matches against the Blues than any other club till now in his career as the City manager. Man City lost 0-1 to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals in April and 1-2 again during their home leg of the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on the 8th of May. Pep’s selection for the final squad surprised many as he kept a key player, Fernandinho on the bench. Plus, Chelsea’s all-around professional display took the winds out of Pep’s sails.
Reports from the Final
Manchester City’s squads had Ederson, Stones, Walker, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Dias, De Bruyne, B. Silva, Mahrez, Sterling, and Foden with Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, and Sergio Aguero as the substitutes. The West London side fielded James, Rudiger, Mendy, Chillwell, Thiago Silva, Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Werner, Havertz, and Mount. Kovacic, Pulisic, and Christensen were the substitutes.
While Gundogan and Jesus from Man City and Rudiger from Chelsea were shown the yellow card, the referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz didn’t book anyone for a red card. The sole goal of the match was scored by Chelsea’s Havertz in the 42nd minute of the match.
The Thomas Tuchel Effect
The exit of the Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard was a cause of disappointment for the fans. They hardly pinned their hopes on the new manager, Thomas Tuchel. By winning the Champions League final, Tuchel proved all his detractors wrong. His appointment eventually proved to be a correct decision. After he arrived at the club, Tuchel brought about a host of changes.
The former manager of Paris Saint-Germain has established himself as one of the top-notch coaches in English football, banking on his tactical brilliance. Post taking Chelsea to the top four at the end of the Premier League, the German manager helped the side to grab the Champions League title. He is the third German coach to have achieved this feat in the last three seasons, the other two being Jurgen Klopp and Hans Flick.
Kante Stands Out
While Rodri and Fernandinho didn’t make it to the final eleven as per Pep’s strategy, including N’Golo Kante in the squad was indeed a fruitful step taken by Tuchel. Kante has always been one of the key players of Chelsea and he stole the show with his skills. No wonder, he was chosen as the Man of the Match.
Throughout the season, the French footballer has been one of the stars who gave the Blues the right kind of momentum at the right time. He ended his campaign with a stellar display on the field. Kante completed 100% of all the tackles that he did and it is indeed an achievement of sorts. His work rate as well as defensive contribution has always received acclamation.
Now that Chelsea has laid its hands on another UEFA Champions League trophy, the club now has lots to live up to in the forthcoming season. According to football pundits, Tuchel might aim for a treble the next time.