THE BOGEY TEAM
At this point it’s quite clear for all to see that Chelsea are undoubtedly Pep Guardiola’s bogey team. The Manchester City Manager has faced the West London team on three occasions this season under Tuchel’s administration and has lost at every attempt. Besides the league defeat and FA cup semi final elimination at the hands of Chelsea, the one game that Guardiola and the Man City fans would have loved to have won would be the Champions League final. Unfortunately, wanting something and actually achieving success are polar opposites. Manchester City can go on to win an infinite amount of premier league titles, however it will never equate to being crowned the champions of European club football.
There were a lot of eyebrows raised with Guardiola opting to start the match without a notable striker. It is a tactic that is synonymous with Guardiola and has often proved fruitful (but is the most important game of the season the right time for this? I think not). City started brightly as we all expected them to and being the favourites, it also gives you that little bit of confidence. Chelsea went into the game knowing that they had beaten Man City in their most recent meetings and would also use that as a mental advantage to aid their push for glory. I think the majority of football neutrals had City winning comfortably, but ‘boy o boy’ were we all wrong.
With the game in full flow both sides endeavoured in search of a clear opportunity to bring the final to life. Sterling probed the Chelsea backline whilst Mount, Haverts and Timo Werner did the same in the other end of the pitch. The breakthrough came when Havertz was played through on goal and took the ball round the stranded City goalkeeper Ederson before composing himself to slot the ball home, giving Chelsea the lead in the 42nd minute. There were six thousand Chelsea fans in attendance and they erupted in jubilation knowing that they were now 45 minutes away from winning the trophy against all odds.
The second half saw Chelsea grow evermore stronger as the incredible Kante covered the ground for his team mates. The France international proved his worth yet again with a majestic performance that is often overshadowed and unrecognised. You felt for Man City when captain, De Bruyne was substituted due to an injury sustained in a clash with Chelsea defender Rudiger. The Chelsea players outworked their City counterparts and showed more desire and effort. Man City on the other hand seemed a little panicked at times and did not have the same fluidity we have become so accustomed to. Mahrez was an absolute no show. He had been City’s hero in their run up to the final, however, he was absolutely awful on the very day everything mattered most.
With time running for Guardiola’s men, the City manager decided to bring on Jesus and club legend Aguero. By the time the changes had been implemented you just felt Chelsea had enough to see them over the line and they did just that. The referee blew the final whistle and Blues fans across the footballing galaxy celebrated (deservedly so too!!!). This is the second time Chelsea have won the competition in their history after the heroics of 2012. Credit to Chelsea for the victory and we must also credit not only Tuchel but also Frank Lampard for the work he started. Going forward, Chelsea supporters and fans alike have a lot to look forward to in the future under Thomas Tuchel. Mason Mount looks to be getting better and better and the acquisition of Kai Havertz, Chelsea’s most expensive player in the clubs history, delivered when it absolutely mattered (loved his expletives….hahaha!!).
Manchester City fans and supporters need not worry, there’ll be back again competing on all fronts and will maybe spend another billion in their quest for champions league glory. They will pursue their challenges in the new season without legendary marksman Aguero who is moving on after an illustrious career at City. One thing for sure is Guardiola as a Manager is yet to win the champions league since his departure from Barcelona (or as we non City fans like to point out…without MESSI!!!!!) and he will need to evaluate and assess his approach going forward. For now though, the night, day, month and moment belong to Chelsea. Congratulations to Chelsea, Tuchel and all the Chelsea supporters and fans across the globe.
The Europa League had a little more drama with both Villa Real and Manchester United with the game ending at 1-1 after 90 minutes and including extra time. After 10 successful penalties were dispatched by both teams, it came down to the goalkeepers to make the difference. Villa Real’s goalkeeper Rulli dispatched his penalty whilst De Gea missed his effort granting Villa Real the Europa League trophy. Villa Real Manager, Emery had plenty to celebrate as this victory marks his 4th title in 5 attempts (a truly remarkable achievement indeed…..makes you wonder why Arsenal sacked him).