City can clinch league title as they host UCL final opponents - Manchester City vs Chelsea Preview
If results go our way this weekend, or CIty win against Chelsea, the Blues will be crowned Champions for the third time in four seasons by Sunday at the latest. City kick-off vs Chelsea at 17:30 (BST) Saturday before Manchester United travel to Villa Park on Sunday for a 14:05 kick-off vs Aston Villa. Blues can win the league with a victory in their game or United lose.
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: Jonathan Moss
VAR: Stuart Attwell
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday
Dress Rehearsal for the final!
With City aiming to win the Premier League title and Chelsea battling to stay in the top four with West Ham hanging to their coattails, both teams will be expected to play strong XIs with many of the ones who start also expected to play in the final. It'll be the second meeting between Guardiola and Tuchel in English football, following Chelsea's FA Cup win vs City's reserves last month, and both coaches will be targeting a win this time to give themselves and their team a mental edge heading into Istanbul's final in three weeks.
Potential City team: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan, Bernardo, Torres, Jesus, Sterling.
Pep Guardiola v Thomas Tuchel - Polar opposites go head-to-head
Pep Guardiola, one of football's key innovators and an advocate of possession-based football, will face his alter-ego Thomas Tuchel at the weekend, who since arriving at Chelsea has revolutionized the club's defensive structure. Chelsea only kept 30% of the ball vs Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final second-leg but it felt as if Tuchel's men had the majority of the chances, mainly due to the threat going forward of Timo Werner or Christian Pulisic, who also caused City major problems in the FA Cup semi-final. Joao Cancelo was the right-back that day but with Kyle Walker putting in a defensive masterclass vs Mbappe and Neymar in the Champions League, he won't have those same issues Cancelo had against Chelsea. With City managing PSG's counter-attack so effectively, they should have no issue in halting Chelsea, who tend to struggle themselves to find the net. Chelsea have only scored more than twice in one game, a 4-1 win at Crystal Palace. With City's defence as strong as it is, Chelsea will find it difficult to score and with a severe lack of creativity amongst their ranks due to sacrificing a midfielder to go to a back-five, City could well win the game in midfield on Saturday.
It'll be attack vs defence when Pep Guardiola's offensive football takes on Thomas Tuchel's pragmatic, defensive and counter-attacking philosophy.
Defensive improvements, City's superior attack
Since their last meeting in the Premier League on January 3, Chelsea have overseen a managerial change that has, in turn, changed their defence from not being capable to maintain a top-four challenge to being one of the best in the world. Manchester City's improvement came earlier, but Ruben Dias's impact has been highlighted even more after the Champions League semi-final games vs PSG, in which he picked up the player of the game award after the second-leg. With both sides so impeccable at the back, the games in the league and the upcoming Champions League final will be decided not by the defence, but by the stronger attack. Chelsea's attack has struggled at times under Tuchel due to being too conservative and the London club also have a lack of creative threat. City, however, have a plethora of talent in their ranks, including Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez who can all be facilitators but can also score goals themselves, as seen all season long. That's where City can win the game.