The UEFA Champions League final is less than 24 hours away and Manchester City will do battle with Chelsea at Estadio Do Dragao in Porto, Portugal, on Saturday on CBS and Paramount+.
A lot of the pre-match speculation has focused on the fitness of Blues’ goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and midfield star N’Golo Kante with manager Thomas Tuchel regularly having to field questions about the pair.
Both have now returned to training with their Chelsea teammates while City have had a reasonably stress-free period of preparation for the all-Premier League encounter.
With the pre-game press conferences now out of the way, the speculation has turned to the starting XIs — even if previous efforts to pre-empt Citizens’ boss Pep Guardiola have proven futile.
Going position by position, both goalkeepers are easy — assuming there are no late fitness issues — with Ederson between the sticks for City and Mendy his opposite number for Chelsea.
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Moving forward and into the defense, the Premier League champions are more likely to go with four at the back while the Londoners have often played with three since Tuchel’s January arrival.
Ruben Dias and John Stones are likely to be flanked by Kyle Walker and Oleksandr Zinchenko for City while Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger and Reece James will most probably be the three for Chelsea — as detailed by CBS Sports’ Adi Joseph.
With Tuchel’s defense lighter on numbers, his midfield is likely to be comprised of four men with Cesar Azpilicueta and Ben Chilwell up and down the flanks and capable of helping out defensively as Kante and Jorginho try to get a grip on the game from the middle of the park to prevent City from creating at will.
On the Manchester side, Fernandinho is likely to provide the defensive shield behind Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva with the Germany international a particular threat in front of goal.
In attack, while the structures may vary and Guardiola rarely starts with a recognized attacker, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden are very likely to be the Spaniard’s weapons of choice up top.
On Tuchel’s side, Mason Mount will be key again and will probably be joined by Kai Havertz behind Timo Werner as the German pair’s goal-shy debut terms continue.
Possible changes in the Chelsea XI could involved Andreas Christensen, Christian Pulisic and possibly Mateo Kovacic, but Tuchel will not want to risk changing it up too much after already beating City twice since taking over.
Manchester City vs. Chelsea lineup prediction
City: Ederson — Walker, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko — Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva — Foden, De Bruyne, Mahrez.
Chelsea: Mendy — Silva, Rudiger, James – Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell – Mount, Havertz, Werner.
However these two line up, it promises to be a great spectacle with plenty of top talent on display and hopefully some goals too and you can follow all the build-up on Paramount+.
How to watch Champions League finals
Date: Saturday, May 29 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Estádio do Dragão — Porto, Portugal
TV: CBS | Live stream: Paramount+
William Hill Sportsbook Odds: Man City -114, Draw +240, Chelsea +340