Chelsea 0 (10) vs. (11) 0 Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Review

Proud of the team but wastefulness cost us…

Chelsea took on Liverpool at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday evening. The pre-match narrative and build up by pundits had formed to make it seem like it was the world against Chelsea because the London Clubs ownership. Liverpool selected a strong XI with everyone who was expected to start making the XI except Kelleher who started in goal and Keita who replaced Thiago in the warm up. Mendy started in goal for Chelsea with a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger after Christensen injured his Achilles in training. Azpilicueta, and Alonso started as the wing backs with Kovacic and Kante in the midfield. Pulisic, Mount and Havertz started up front. Strong lineups from both teams.

Chelsea started the game brightly with Pulisic going close in the opening minutes. Azpilicueta played a brilliant ball in but Pulisic’s shot was directed straight at Kelleher from close range. Chelsea then went close again with Mount missing from close range and seeing his shot go wide. Liverpool then grew into the game and dominated possession for much of the 1st half. Mendy was forced into making a stunning double save. The first half ended with Liverpool having had the better half.

The 2nd half began with Chelsea starting strongly once again. Pulisic played in Mount thanks to a brilliant lobbed pass and Mount hit the post which was very unlike him. Mendy made a couple more good saves but Liverpool were largely at bay in the 2nd half. Keita should have been sent off for a tackle on Chalobah but somehow the foul went Liverpool’s way while Chalobah required stitches after the game. The game headed into extra time with Chelsea having not been clinical in the final 3rd.

Extra time was all Chelsea and Liverpool looked tired. Lukaku scored a brilliant goal running in behind the Liverpool defence but it was ruled offside. When it went to VAR his whole body was onside and the goal should have stood but  VAR dubiously used his left arm as the marker to rule it offside. Havertz then scored another goal but he was offside. The game headed into penalties and all players scored their penalties except Kepa who’s shot went sky high. Liverpool won the cup.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeepers

Mendy was man of the match thanks to his stunning saves in the first half especially. It was a brilliant performance over the 119 odd minutes. Mendy had little to do for the final 45 or so minutes though. Kepa came on as planned but could not save Chelsea in penalties his time out. No blame was given to him because without him we wouldnt have reached the final in the first place. Just not his day this time.

Defenders

Chalobah had a tough time against Luis Diaz on the right hand side but managed it well none the less. Silva was amazing once again playing the whole game and converting his penalty. He made a stunning clearance during the game albeit it looked like Salah’s chip was going wide. Rudiger was his usual self. Azpilicueta and Alonso actually did quiet well throughout the game and both were a danger from the wing back positions. Alonso also kept Salah quiet. Reece James had to come on for Azpilicueta late on and he did well. It was good to see him back. A clean sheet on any other day and that is all you can ask from you defence.

Midfielders

Kante had a decent game in midfield. The physicality seemed to be getting to him at times but he was brilliant at other times. Kovacic was amazing and he did really well throughout the game. Jorginho came on late in the game helped control the tempo and retain possession for Chelsea. Mount was the main cause Chelsea lost the game. Two brilliant chances and he should have finished both of them. It happens though and there is no need to dwell on it. The finishin has to improve as a whole. 

Forwards 

Pulisic did well for much of the game and he played in a brilliant ball for Mount that should have been a goal. Pulisic himself missed a solid chance though. Havertz was very good throughout and continues his run of good form. Had the ball in the back of the net but was offside. Timo came on in the 2nd half and added pace in behind. Werner also had the ball in the back of the net but he was offside. Lukaku also came on and did well. The hold up play was better and he was more mobile. He scored a perfectly good goal which wrongly ruled offside and he drew a late save from Kelleher as well. Just were not clinical.

Manager

Tuchel would have been proud of that performance and the team did play really well. The manager coached a win and we would have won if we were not wasteful with our chances. As long as Tuchel is Chelsea manager though we will continue to get more chances at trophies.

Not our day and the luck was missing on the night. The finishing boots by some players were also left at home. Finishing has cost Chelsea dearly all season and it is something we have to improve on. Proud of the team though and if we continue to play like that and take our chances we should end the season strongly. Next up is a trip to Luton Town in the FA Cup 5th Round. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea vs. Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Preview

Another chance to win a trophy!

Chelsea take on Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday for the Carabao Cup Final. Liverpool last won the league cup in 2012 when they beat Cardiff City on penalties. Klopp himself has not won a domestic cup since taking over as Liverpool boss. Liverpool beat Norwich, Preston, Leicester, and Arsenal to reach the final and are currently on a 9 game winning run in all competitions albeit not having played particularly great in many of those games. The acquisiton of Luis Diaz has added more depth up front and Liverpool do go into this game as the favourites. 

Chelsea last won the League Cup in 2015 beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final. Since then the club have reached the final the last being in 2019 under Sarri eventually losing on penalties to Manchester City. Chelsea beat Aston Villa, Southampton, Brentford, and Tottenham to reach the final. An all Premier League route. At the moment Chelsea are on a six game winning run in all competitions. Chelsea already have the Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup to their name this season. The team and Tuchel have fallen a bit behind City and Liverpool in the title race but remain active in all competitions this season. The previous two meetings against Liverpool this season have end in score draws. The last one came recently in January when Liverpool took a 2-0 lead but Chelsea came back 2-2 before half time. Chelsea go into this game with some confidence in the team once again after what has been a dire winter period. Not many lossess but several draws which have cost the team. 

Chelsea Team Preview

The only player out injured is Ben Chilwell but everyone is back involved in training now which will be a relief to Tuchel. The first big debate for the lineup comes in goal. Kepa has been involved in all the cup games so far but Mendy is back and did also play in the Club World Cup final. Kepa deserves to start but Mendy is the better goalkeeper while the game is going on. Mostly due to his range of saves. Whatever decision Tuchel makes will be followed but I would go with Mendy in goal and bring in Kepa if the game goes to penalties. Chelsea should return to a back three for this game with Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger making it up. Reece James is back and in Tuchel’s words has been brilliant in training. I would start him at right wing back with Azpilicueta shifting to left wing back. Kante, and Kovacic should form the midfield. The front three is another big question. Pulisic should start given he impressed against Lille and against Liverpool earlies this year. Havertz has done very well and should also start. Mount is back training but Ziyech is in form. I would go with Mount for this game just because he can bring that extra energy to the press. There will be plenty of space in behind and Werner could also be an assest from the bench if need be. Ziyech would be perfectly fine though. Lukaku should come off the bench. A strong lineup regardless.

Liverpool Team Preview

Liverpool have a fully fit squad as well bar Firmino who is out injured. Liverpool’s lineup is a bit less speculative. Alisson will be in goal with a back four of Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, and Robertson. Thiago, Henderson, and Fabinho should start in midfield with a front three of Salah, Jota, and Mane. If Jota is not fit enough to start then Mane will play up top with Diaz coming in from the left. We all know what to expect from Liverpool and its front three. The defence has been a bit shaky this season and Van Dijk has not really come back all guns blazing. A strong lineup either way.

Starting XI Prediction

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Chelsea and Liverpool have a history and the games are always feisty. Add on top of that the whole Klopp, Tuchel debate and its a good narrative for a final. Liverpool are favourites but Chelsea like to be the underdogs. It’s going to be a very interesting game but its all about taking the chances. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea 2 vs. 1 Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Review

CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!

Chelsea took on Brazilian team Palmeiras at the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night. It was Chelsea’s 2nd appearance in the competition’s final after losing in 2012 while Palmeiras were making their first appearance. A win for either team would have been their first. Palmeiras had the same team as predicted with Dudu, Rony, Scarpa, and Veiga all starting up front. The majority of the fans in the stadium were Palmeiras fans mostly because Brazilian teams really cherish the Club World Cup. There was decent Chelsea support as well and the Blues knew the importance of winning this trophy because it would complete the set. Tuchel selected Mendy in goal with a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi started as the wing backs with Havertz, Mount and Lukaku playing up top. A strong lineup. 

The first half was pretty straight forward. Chelsea had two thirds of the possession but Palmeiras’s low block meant that very few chances were created. Palmeiras on the other hand had some very good chances on the counter attack. Mount had to come off in the first half after hurting his ankle and was replaced by Pulisic. Pulisic’s addition did add some flair to the forward line but there was no breakthrough. 

The first goal came in the 54th minute as Hudson-Odoi put a brilliant cross into the box and Lukaku rose highest to head the ball into the net. A goal in a big final and Lukaku earned back respect last night. Chelsea though could not find that finishing goal though and Veiga scored a penalty to equalise in the 64th minute. Thiago Silva had tried to head a ball away but it his hand and obstructed play. Neither team could find a winner in regular time as the game went to extra time.

In extra time Palmeiras just sat back and defended while Chelsea tried to throw the kitchen sink at their defence. The breakthrough came late with Azpilicueta volleying a shot towards goal and it hit defender Luan on the hand. After a short VAR check the penalty was given. Azpilicueta took the ball and cleverly took all the intimidation given to him by the Palmeiras players following which he handed the ball to Havertz to take the actual penalty. Kai Havertz stepped up and just like he did to win Chelsea the Champions League he scored the winner to win the club the World Cup. Havertz was then brought down late in the game after being through on goal and Luan was sent off with a straight red card. Full time and Chelsea were champions of the world. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Mendy returned to goal in this game. There were a few saves he had to make and the penalty is always a 50/50. Apart form that it was a good outing and he adds another trophy to his cabinet. Both Kepa and Mendy got game time and did brilliantly.

Defenders

The whole defence was very good. Azpilicueta became the first Chelsea player to win every single trophy at the club. An absolute legendary captain for the club and one of the legends of the game for sure. Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger were also solid at the back. Sarr came on in extra time when Chelsa switched to a back four. 

Midfielders

Kovacic and Kante started as the midfield two. Kovacic was very good for much of the game. Kante played the whole game but for me had a mixed performance. In patches he was great but sometimes he was caught out. Mount looked good until he had to come off and hopefully the injury isn’t serious. Saul came on late in the game to liven up the midfield. 

Forwards

Havertz was very good and played the whole game. He scored the winning penalty and exhibted great nerves in such a pressure situation. It should be the boost needed for him to kick on in the 2nd half of the season. Lukaku also made it two goals in two games and scored a powerful header. His first trophy with Chelsea and it again should help him kick on and score more goals. Hudson-Odoi played as a wing back and got an assist but overall had an ok performance. Pulisic was impactful when he came on and showed real hunger. Hopefully the American can get a run of games. Ziyech and Werner also came on and did well to create chances and stretch the Palmeiras defence. 

Manager

Tuchel finally made it for the game and was in the dugout for the final. It was great to see. I think the most clever thing Tuchel did over the two games was give most of the squad game time. He made everyone feel involved and like they contributed to the trophy. A third trophy at the club in a year and hopefully many more to come. 

Chelsea completed football last night and Abramovich was on hand to witness the missing piece of the puzzle. Again, this is the beginning of a new era and if Tuchel continues to get the backing Chelsea will only get better. Next up is a visit to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace.

CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD, COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea vs. Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Preview

Massive final for Chelsea!

Chelsea will take on Brazilian team Palmeiras in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup final on Saturday. Palmeiras beat Al Ahly 2-0 in their semi-final and will have several thousands of fans in the stadium supporting them. Chelsea seem to have the rest of Brazil supporting them so I guess it’s not that bad for the Blues. This is the teams first outing in the Club World Cup and their first appearance in the final. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Al-Hilal 0-1 on Wednesday. It was a close game but Chelsea pulled through thanks to a goal from Lukaku in the 1st half. Chelsea will be playing their 2nd Club World Cup final having lost the first one to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2012. It is is the only trophy that is missing from the cabinet at Chelsea and if the Blues win it they would have completed the set of all available trophies to an English Premier League club. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea have the full squad available with the only exceptions beind Reece James and Ben Chilwell. Mendy is back in training and was on the bench against Al-Hilal. Kepa has been outstanding while Mendy has been at AFCON. Some would say that the Spaniard deserves to start in the final but I would say start Mendy. Fans are fickle and if a long range effort went in that Kepa could not save then everyone would blame him. Chelsea are blessed with two goalkeepers that are high on confidence so start Mendy and bring Kepa on if the game goes to penalties which hopefully it does not.

Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger should start in defence while I would start Azpiicueta and Sarr as the wing backs. Christensen and Alonso could start but I would be worried with Alonso and his lack of pace against Brazilians. Jorginho and Kovacic should start in midfield with a front three of Havertz, Lukaku and Ziyech. I personally would start Havertz ahead of Lukaku and bring in Mount but I doubt the Belgian will get dropped. The front three did well against Al-Hilal and I think the wingers should keep their place. Again Chelsea could go with a back four as well in which case we could see Mount come in for one of the centre backs. It should be a strong lineup regardless.

Palmeiras Team Preview

Palmeiras just began their new season this year. Last season their top scorer was Veiga while Rony and Willian also finished with 10+ goals. Scarpa was their highest creator with 20 assists last season. This season having played five games Dudu is their highest goal scorer with three goals. Veiga has the most assists with three. I wouldn’t say I know much about Palmeiras but they are a strong and pacy team that love attacking. Weverton should be their goalkeeper with a back four of Rocha, Gomez, Luan, and Piquerez. Danilo and Ze Rafael should make up their midfield with Dudu, Veiga, and Scarpa starting up front behind Rony who is their striker. The front four by all means look lethal and that is where the danger lies with Palmeiras. Abel Fereira is their manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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This trophy means a lot for Chelsea fans. These players would be making history if they won it for the first time for the club. There seems to be welcome news that Thomas Tuchel might make it for the final which will be great for the whole team. Palmeiras won’t be an easy team by any means and their fans will be as vocal as ever, but Chelsea know what they need to do. The most important thing is to be clinical in front of goal. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Euro 2020 Final Review

It’s coming Rome!!!

Italy 1 (3) vs. (2) 1 England

Italy took on England at Wembley for the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday. It was an amazing atmosphere inside the stadium although there had been some chaos. Fans had broken in and occupied seats in the stadium while unruliness ruled in certain areas of London, but the football carried on. England got the first goal in the 2nd minute after Shaw volleyed in a Trippier cross. It was the perfect start for England and a wake up call for Italy. From then on only one team looked likely winning and it was Italy. The Italians grew back into the game and ended the half with more control. The 2nd half was all Italy as England barely had a sniff of the ball. The equaliser came in the 67th minute via Bonucci after he fumbled the ball past the net. The game then went into extra time where England had some chances but Italy stayed strong and once again took control of the game. No winner could be found as the game headed to penalties. Berardi stepped up and finished past Pickford. Kane did the same to make it 1-1. Belotti then saw his shot saved by Pickford as Maguire put his past Donnarumma to give England a 1-2 lead. Bonucci converted his penalty and then Rashford who had been brought on to take a penalty along with Sancho missed his. Bernardeschi then made it 3-2 and Sancho also missed his penalty. Jorginho then had the chance to finish the deal but he surprisingly missed his penalty as well. Saka then stepped up and had to finish to keep England in the game but he missed which crowned Italy the European Champions. Italy were deserved winner over 90 minutes and the whole tournament. It was entertaining football from game one and they should fight throughout. England from game one were boring. They scraped by in games with a solid defence but other than that there was no control. Southgate’s substitutions in this game were a joke as well. Rashford and Sancho both missed their penalties and why is 19 year old Saka taking a penalty ahead of the likes of Shaw, Grealish, and Sterling. Southgate will be given a new contract though because what people see are the results and losing in penalties will be the result. What a journey Italy have been on since 2018 and Mancini has done a great job with them. Mancini will now have his eyes set on the World Cup next year. Jorginho and Emerson became the 10th and 11th players to win both the Champions League and Euro in the same season which is incredible. An exciting Euro’s comes to an end as we head back into pre-season and get ready for the new 21/22 season. 

Euro 2020 Final Preview

It’s the big one!

Italy vs. England

Italy take on England for the Euro 2020 final at Wembley on Sunday night. Italy finished top of their group then went on to beat Austria, Belgium, and Spain. England finished top of their group going on to beat Germany, Ukraine, and Denmark. Neither team has lost a game yet although England have drawn one. Italy have scored 12 goals conceding 3 while England have scored 10 and conceded 1. This should be a firecracker of a game because England have found a scoring touch recently while both teams have solid defences. For me the game will be won in the midfield and it will be interesting to see whether Barella, Verrati, and Jorginho win out or Phillips, Rice, and Mount. England have the home advantage and Wembley will be roaring but there will be a fair few Italians who would have made it to London for the game. Neither team were favourites to reach the final but these are the two best teams in the tournament. I expect a game of counter attacks and both teams are great at it. I believe Italy have the experience and fight though and should edge England for the win. 

Man City 0 vs. 1 Chelsea Champions League Final Review

CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TIMES 2!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chelsea took on Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday night in Porto. Fans in the stadium, ex legends in the stadium everyone was present and similar to the FA Cup final there was a real feeling that it was a big game unlike last years Champions League final. Tuchel picked the exact same team that I predicted with Mendy in goal, Azpilicueta, Silva, and Rudiger making up the defence and Reece James and Chilwell making up the wing backs. Jorginho and Kante made up the midfield while Mount, Werner, and Havertz made up the front three. Strongest lineup by Tuchel arguably and Chelsea were ready to go. Pep played the predicted team as well with a 4-3-3 formation but weirdly he played no defensive midfielder. No Fernandinho or Rodri in the lineup and Gundogan was playing in that position. Sterling surprisingly got a rare start. Either way strong lineups no excuses and the game began. 

The first chance came to Sterling in the 8th minute as a ball over the top found him through but Reece made a great recovery run to defend the goal from Sterling. Werner then had a brilliant chance at the other end but fluffed his shot and City went right down the other end to create a chance but Chilwell made a big block. Werner then had another good chance but his shot just got stuck under his feet as it went to close to Ederson. Werner then had his 3rd chance in the opening 15 minutes as his shot from the left hits the net after getting deflected by a City player. Rudiger then made an amazing block in the 27th minute as Foden found himself open right in front of Mendy, world class. Thiago Silva had to sadly come off in the 36th minute as it seemed he might have injured his groin. Christensen came on for him. Chelsea then got the goal in the 42nd minute as Chilwell passed into Mount and Mount put in a brilliant through ball for Havertz who broke the line and dribbled past Ederson to slot the ball into an empty net. A massive goal for Chelsea going into half time and fully deserved as Chelsea had the more clear cut chances in the 1st half.

The 2nd half started with City in dominance but De Bruyne had to come off in the 56th minute as he collided with Rudiger. The collision left him with some fractures in his face and he left the pitch crying. It was a sad thing to see as Jesus came on for him. City then wanted a penalty for the ball hitting Reece on the body and then hitting the hand but the referee was adamant it was a deflection and VAR did not overrule it. Fernandinho then came on as well as Pulisic. City went through a dominant period of possession as Chelsea had to grind it out defensively. Azpilicueta then made another game saving block as he cleared the ball from 2 yards in front of goal. Chelsea broke in the 73rd minute and Pulisic had a great chance to make it 2 but his shot went just wide of the post. Aguero and Kovacic came on for the final 10 minutes of the game. Chelsea then made some final blocks in 7 minutes of extra time to seal the win. The whistle blew and Chelsea were CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!!!

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Mendy keeps another clean sheet and breaks the record for most clean sheets by a debut goalkeeper in the competition. We can talk about the stats in the season review but the game was flawless. Mendy really didn’t have much to do mainly due the defence making so many good tackles. The story he has been on in his career, last night was a reward for his hard work. 

Defenders

Reece James, Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, Christensen and Chilwell were impeccable. Just flawless. Every single player dominated City. Reece James pocketed Sterling and didn’t let him breathe while the same can be said for Chilwell and Mahrez. Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger and Christensen all made goal saving blocks throughout the game and showed why Chelsea have one of the meanest defences in world football. An amazing performance by them. 

Midfielders

Jorginho, Kante, and Mount had great games as well. It was no nonsense performance from Jorginho as he controlled the tempo of the game and played out of pressure. Kante was his world class best and one of the best moments came when he tracked back and made a brilliant tackle on De Bruyne who was about to enter the Chelsea box. Mount got the assist for the goal and what an assist it was. It was a perfectly weighted pass and his pressing was dogged from the beginning. Mount also tracked back at one moment to make an amazing block. Kovacic came on for Mount for the final 15 and saw out the game. Kova’s ability to dribble out of the press really helped Chelsea. 

Forwards

Werner had his usual game in terms of this season. Missed 2 really good chances and one decent chance in the first 15 minutes. If it was Werner from last season then we would have been 2 or 3-0 up at the very beginning. Other than that it was his constant runs behind the City backline that cause problems. Even the goal it his decoy run which allowed Havertz to find space down the middle as it dragged Dias to go with Werner. Havertz was impeccable his movement for the goal and his calmness to dribble past Ederson and finish was immense. He’s repaid whatever his transfer fees was and it’s only just the beginning. Pulisic came on in the 2nd half and had a great opportunity to make it 2-0 but apart from that he did well to manage out the final minutes.

Tuchel

Wow what a manager. Beat Pep 3 teams in a row and unlike his counterpart he stuck with what Chelsea were good at it. It was always going to be a tactical battle and Tuchel beat Pep in it. To think it’s just the beginning for him at Chelsea and there are many more trophies left to win. The belief and doggedness he has brought back into the club has made us a big game team once again. 

Champions of Europe for a 2nd time. I don’t think I’m ever going to get tired of that unless we make it 3 hahaha. What a night for Chelsea Football Club from the fans to the players to the staff to Abramovich and the other families in the stadium. 2012 was special because it was the trophy that alluded our legends and they managed it in some sort of last dance. We fought hard and against the odds defending for a large part of that campaign winning through belief. Last night though it was a game we won because we were the better team. Not just in the final but through the whole competition. Group stage, Atletico, Porto, Real, and Man City. Utterly dominant. This is a beginning it feels like there is plenty more to come from this squad and this manager at Chelsea and the fans and players along with Tuchel are very excited. COME ON CHELSEA!!! CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!!!

Man City vs. Chelsea Champions League Final Preview

The pinnacle of club football.

Chelsea and Manchester City travel to Porto to play the Champions League final. The final was supposed to be held in Istanbul but due to Covid and it being an all English final it was moved closer to England. Chelsea are looking to win a 2nd Champions League after 2012 while Man City are playing their first European final in this century and a bit more than that. There are going to be fans of both teams in the stadium and it’s going to be one hell of a night for sure. 

Manchester City finished top of their group winning 5 and drawn 1 of their games. They scored 13 and conceded 1 in the process. City then beat Monchengladbach 4-0 on aggregate in the Round of 16. Next up was Dortmund who they beat 2-4 on aggregate. The semi’s saw them face off against PSG who they beat 4-1 on aggregate. One could say it’s been a fairly comfortable journey to the final for City in terms of how they have won those games. PSG was the hardest of the opposition but Dortmund were underdogs as well. City since the 2nd leg against PSG have lost 2 and won 2 of their games. It’s been a long journey for City and Pep in terms of reaching the final. They haven’t won any European trophy though and never made a final. Pep has played 14 finals and won 13 so he has that going for him. City haven’t had the emotion of losing a CL final or winning the Europa League. It’s just been a straight path to success. Of course City go into this game as favourites given that they are one of the best teams in the world at the moment and Premier League champions as well. 

Chelsea also finished top of the group, winning 4 and drawing 2. We scored 14 and conceded 2 goals in the process. We played now Spanish champions Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16 and beat them 3-0 on aggregate. We played FC Porto in the quarters and won 2-1 on aggregate. We played Real Madrid in the semi-finals and beat them 3-1 on aggregate. Very similar path to City in terms of dominating our games and arguably we could have scored even more in those games if we had been more clinical. For Chelsea it’s the complete opposite narrative though. Funnily enough we have 1 Champions League, 2 Europa League’s, and 2 European Cup Winners Cup’s but we are going into the game as underdogs yet again. Chelsea like to be the underdogs though and we tend to always perform out of our skin when people don’t give us a chance. It’s games like the FA Cup final where we are expected to win and sometimes struggle. Tuchel and Silva were in last year’s Champions League final and they lost to a very good Bayern team. These Chelsea players have now played two finals and lost both so they will for sure have the fire to make it right and win. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea have a fully fit squad available for the final. Mendy should start in goal with Azpilicueta, Silva, and Rudiger as the back 3. Reece James and Chilwell should start as the wing backs with Jorginho and Kante in the midfield. Mount and Werner should start up front and it’s a tight call for the final spot. Havertz, Ziyech, or Pulisic could start up front but I would go with Havertz. The German had a good game Real Madrid and with Werner playing off of him they should cause problems. Werner’s pace will be key though and it’s written in the stars that after the season Werner has had in front of goal he finally get’s a valid a goal or two in Chelsea’s biggest game this season to win Chelsea the biggest club trophy there is. There is plenty of talent on the bench though and if we need to Pulisic can cause damage off of it. Giroud, Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi are all available as well. Kovacic is also a source of fresh energy. It’s a strong team and a well knit team. I have a feeling Tuchel could tweak something in how Chelsea play but we will leave that up to him. 

Man City Team Preview

Man City have a full squad to select from as well. Gundogan picked up a slight niggle in training but he will probably start unless it’s something serious. Ederson will of course be in goal. I don’t think Pep will match Chelsea’s formation and he will stick to his back four. Walker, Stones, Dias, and Zinchenko should be their defence. Mahrez, Fernandinho, Gundogan, and Foden should be their midfield with De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva up front. It’s very much a false 9 formation with no real striker as it has been for much of City’s season. City will feel that this is the first time they are fielding their first choice XI against Chelsea since Tuchel has come in and that should give them some sort of advantage. Of course they are English Champions and the likes of Ederson, Mahrez, Gundogan, Foden, Dias, and De Bruyne have been the standout players for them this season. We all know how City will play they will look to dominate the ball and choke Chelsea with possession. Quick passes and movement. Sterling, Jesus, Aguero, Torres, Cancelo, Mendy are all players that are available to cause damage for City from the bench. 

Starting XI Prediction

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What a day it’s going to be, Champions League finals don’t come around all too often unless your Real Madrid from a couple of seasons ago. The Chelsea team that won in 2012 was very much the squad’s swan song. It was a last dance of sorts and the crowning achievement of what that squad of key players had accomplished over that decade or so. For this Chelsea squad a win in Porto would be very much the opposite. This Chelsea team is just getting started and it’s going to be another summer of solid investment in terms of signings. Tuchel is just getting started and too win a Champions League early on in their careers could be such a catalyst for what could be an amazing time for Chelsea Football Club. Our players will be burning after they lost the last two finals and now it’s very much a matter of showing what this club is about. In 2012 we beat the best team in the world at their stadium to win the Champions League. We once again face the best team in the world as underdogs but this team I feel is more talented then that team and where 2012 was a campaign of grit and desire this team can actually win this final deserving to win it. Nervously excited a big night awaits. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Villarreal 1 (11) vs. (10) 1 Man United Europa League Final Review

A big win for little Villarreal!

Villarreal took on Man United in Gdansk, Poland for the Europa League final on Wednesday night. It was a great affair with several Villarreal fans in attendance while United had a good portion as well. The town that Villarreal is based out of has a population of about 50,000 people anyways so it’s not some tall order. United selected its usual lineup with one change. De Gea was in goal with Wan Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, and Shaw in defence. Pogba dropped into the midfield alongside McTominay. Rashford, Greenwood, Bruno and Cavani started up front. It was a good team on the face of it. Villarreal stuck with their 4-4-2. Rulli in goal, Foyth, Albiol, Torres, and Alfonso in defence. Pino, Capoue, Parejo, and Trigueros in midfield while Bacca and Moreno started up front. Two very strong teams but it was a battle between two managers. 

It was  a balanced game with Villarreal drawing first blood as Moreno scored from a set piece to give Emery and co the lead in the 29th minute. United could not equalise in the 1st half but Cavani managed to do it in the 2nd half as the ball ricochetted around the box and fell the Uruguayan who tapped it in the 55th minute. Villarreal made some changes to keep the team fresh but both teams are quite defensive so neither could break the other down. The game continued to go on past extra time and into penalties. Ole had made no changes for the whole game and only brought on the likes of James, Tuanzebe, Fred and Telles in extra time for penalties. The penalties also kept on going with De Gea not being able to save any of Villarreal’s 11 penalties. Rulli came close on numerous occasions but finally managed to save De Gea’s penalty as Villarreal won their first European trophy. 

Given Villarreal’s story and what was a stake it was a big win for them. They had to win to avoid playing in the Conference League and now they will be in Pot 1 of the Champions League. Their town of 50,000 people get something to shout about. Emery becomes the first manager to win 4 Europa League trophies showing that it was probably Arsenal who were the problem and not him. For Ole and United they end the season with a solitary 2nd place finish. Ole showed no tactical awareness or capability of making substitutions while the defence was poor again. It was the same trick as he hoped that some of his individual talents would strike and bounce back in the 2nd half. The luck ran out. In any ordinary club it would be curtains or at the very least serious questions around Ole but Ole is most likely to get a new contract. There are several managers now looking for jobs and one would wonder if United should pounce and try to get a Zidane or Poch. 

A positive night for Villarreal and one their town can be proud of for many many years to come. 

Villarreal vs. Man United Europa League Final Preview

The teaser to the main event on Saturday!

It’s Europa League Final time as La Liga side Villarreal will be playing Premier League side Man United in Gdansk, Poland on Wednesday night. It’s been a lengthy season and its the final game for both these teams. As things stand Villarreal will be playing in the European Conference League next season but if they win they go straight into the Champions League. Man United have already sealed a Champions League place but they haven’t won a trophy under Ole yet and that is their goal. I would say there is pressure on both teams and but if a team has more to gain from the win it is Villarreal. 

Villarreal topped their Europa League group winning 5 and drawing 1 of their six games. In the Round of 32 they beat RB Salzburg 4-1 over two legs. Round of 16 they beat Dynamo Kyiv 4-0. In the Quarter Finals they beat Dinamo Zagreb 3-1 over two legs. In the Semi Finals they beat Arsenal 1-2 over two legs. Some tricky games there but all very manageable for Unai Emery and his team. Villarreal have never won the Europa League but Unai Emery has won it 3 times in a row with Sevilla so there is plenty of experience on that front. Going into the game on Wednesday Villarreal have won 3 and lost 2 of their last 5 games. 

Man United’s Europa League journey began in the Round of 16 after they finished 3rd in the Champions League Group Stage. First up was AC Milan who they beat 1-2 over two legs. Next up was Granada in the Quarters who they beat 4-0 over two legs. They got Roma in the Semi’s who they beat 8-5 on aggregate. This might be tougher opposition and you may be thinking wow United beat some good teams but no there is always context. AC Milan were a depleted team when they faced United and didn’t have several key players available. Roma had a really poor 45 minutes in Manchester which took the tie away from them. In Rome De Gea saved United from the blushes of being knocked out. United won the Europa League most recently with Jose Mourinho in 2017. That also happened to be United’s last trophy. United go into this game having won 2, lost 2 and drawn 1 of their last five games.

Villarreal Team Preview

Villarreal have a good group of players available to them. Rulli has been a good goalkeeper for them while defenders like Pau Torres are attracting attention from top clubs and Albiol has been a stalwart for many seasons now. They also have Alberto Moreno who many might remember from Liverpool. Their midfield of Parejo and Capoue is a solid one while the likes of Trigueros can cause damage from the wings. Bacca, Moreno, Alcacer are just some of the great options they have up front for them. Moreno has been their standout player up front with 29 goals and 11 assists this season. Alcacer is next up with 12 goals and 5 assists. Chukwueze will be a miss for them as he is out injured. It’s a solid team and capable of winning a final for sure, but they will have to be clinical in front of goal. United have been outplayed by several teams this season, but because those teams have not been clinical United have walked away with a point or more. 

Man United Team Preview

United will be without Martial but apart from that they have a fit squad. Ole rested almost all of his players on the final day of the season so they basically have a good week of rest going into this game. Henderson and De Gea has been a debate for many this season and a problem of United’s own making but if you ask me its because of De Gea that they have even reached the final so he should start. Maguire is injured but he could start which wouldn’t be smart given Moreno Bacca and Alacer but to each his own. A back four of Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, and Shaw is almost certain. A midfield two of McTominay and Fred with Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford behind Cavani is how United should set up going forward. It’s a nailed on team from Ole. What Ole does have is some really good individual talents namely Bruno Fernandes and Cavani but if you stop those two and keep Pogba quite you basically have United thwarted. United are a 45 minute team. They could blitz you in 45 minutes and they tend to respond better if they go a goal down. United are also a very lucky team and Ole is a very lucky manager. Ole will go back to relying on counter attacking football for this game and hope that the pace up front can help them win. 

Starting XI Prediction

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It’s going to be a big game in Gdansk. Emery for sure is the one who has been there and done it several times in the Europa League and won titles with several other teams. Ole is relying on Bruno, Cavani, and De Gea to get him silverware. It’s going to be a close game but I have a feeling Villarreal could win their first trophy and Emery his 4th Europa League.