May 26, 2021
May 26, 2021

Champions League 2021 final preview: Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Who will win the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League?

Manchester City vs. Chelsea odds and betting preview

Manchester City vs. Chelsea: Predicted line-ups

Champions League stats and insight

Champions League 2021 final preview: Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Manchester City and Chelsea are set to contest an all-English Champions League final at the Estadio do Dragao on May 29. Can City become European champions for the first time in their history, or will Thomas Tuchel make up for losing last year’s final with PSG by leading Chelsea to the trophy? Read on to inform your Champions League final predictions.

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Manchester City vs. Chelsea: Odds at a glance

Date and time: Saturday May 29, 2021, 21:00 (CEST)

Venue: Estadio do Dragao - Porto, Portugal

Manchester City are favourites to win the final (by any means) at 1.458*, which equates to an exact 66% chance of victory, whereas Chelsea are the 2.830* underdogs, which translates to a 34% likelihood.

The Over/Under for goals is set at 2.5, with 2.320* for over and 1.636* for under. City are 1.980* to win with a -0.5 Handicap, whereas Chelsea are available at 1.884* with a +0.5 Handicap.

Manchester City vs. Chelsea: 2020/21 key stats

Manchester City



Ilkay Gundogan (17)

Top scorer

Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner (12)

Kevin De Bruyne (17)

Most assists

Timo Werner (12)


Goals scored per game



Expected goals (xG) per game



Goals conceded per game



Expected goals against (xGA) per game



UEFA coefficient ranking


Premier League, EFL Cup

Major honours

FA Cup runners-up

Manchester City have reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history, while Pep Guardiola has done so for the first time as a manager since he won the tournament in 2011 with Barcelona. Should City beat Chelsea, it would be their third trophy this season, as well Guardiola’s 10th honour in his five years at the club.

Chelsea's two prior appearances in the Champions League final were both settled on penalties.

Not for the first time, City have enjoyed an eye-catching and record-breaking campaign. Most notably, between December and March they recorded the most consecutive wins by a top-flight English team in all competitions (21) and equalled their club record for the longest unbeaten streak (28 games).

Meanwhile, it has firmly been a season of two halves for Chelsea. At the time of Frank Lampard’s sacking in late January, they were sat ninth in the Premier League table and had won just three of their previous 10 league fixtures.

Since then, they have rallied in spectacular fashion under Thomas Tuchel. The former Borussia Dortmund and PSG coach has lost just four of his 28 matches thus far as Chelsea manager, and also led his side to this season’s FA Cup final, which they lost 1-0 against Leicester City.

This will be Chelsea’s third appearance in the Champions League final. Both of their previous two were settled on penalties, with the Blues losing out to Manchester United in 2008 and edging Bayern Munich in 2012.

Both teams have been particularly impressive in the 2020/21 Champions League, and City will also enter the final unbeaten. This can be largely attributed to strong defensive performances, as reflected by the fact that the two sides have conceded just eight goals in 24 matches between them in this season’s tournament

Manchester City vs. Chelsea: Predicted line-ups

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Benjamin Mendy; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Foden.

Guardiola’s City line-ups are notoriously difficult to predict, but he may be inclined to opt for what can be broadly deemed City’s strongest starting 11.

However, one of City’s key assets is their immense strength in depth and there are several other players who possess a plausible chance of starting on the night. Fernandinho’s big-game experience may earn him a spot in the team at the expense of Rodri, while all of Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez, and Gabriel Jesus will hope to form part of the attack. Guardiola may also call upon Oleksandr Zinchenko to play at left-back.

Chelsea (3-4-3): Edouard Mendy; Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz, Werner.

Thomas Tuchel will have a virtually full roster of players to choose from and there is little reason to suggest he will deviate from the 3-4-3 formation he has introduced since becoming manager. Mateo Kovacic will be competing with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante for one of two starting berths in Chelsea’s central midfield, but may miss out having only recently returned from injury.

Other attacking options in Chelsea’s squad include Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, the latter of which scored in his last two matches against City. Elsewhere, center-back Kurt Zouma offers a decent option to provide both defensive stability and an aerial threat from set pieces.

Manchester City vs. Chelsea: Where is the value?

While their respective formations may be different, this is a Champions League final between two teams who both rely on pressing their opponents to keep control of possession and creating the majority of their chances from quick and incisive attacks.

Manchester City are deservedly revered as an ultra-attacking outfit, although their approach to this season’s Champions League has been somewhat pragmatic by their standards. Sparing a 0-0 draw against Porto in the group stage, City were victorious in all of their fixtures en-route to the final despite only netting just over two goals per game and not winning a match by a margin greater than two goals in the knockout stages.

Chelsea have kept 18 clean sheets in 28 matches under Thomas Tuchel.

However, that isn’t to suggest that their attacking efforts have been stunted. City are among the top five teams in this season’s tournament for both corners (5.8) and crosses (16.5) per game, while they have only failed to score in two Champions League fixtures since the start of 2018/19.

The sheer level of ability in City’s squad is arguably unmatched on the continent and enables them to source goals from all sections of their team. While Ilkay Gundogan has perhaps surprisingly emerged as their top scorer in all competitions in 2020/21, they can boast six players who have netted at least 13 goals this season, more than any Chelsea player has managed.

With this in mind, City to score over 1.5 goals at 2.230* could easily prove a value bet, while Guardiola and co. to win with a -1.5 Handicap at 3.800* is worth considering if you feel confident that they will turn in a strong attacking performance on the night.

Tuchel declared that he wanted to make Chelsea “a team no one enjoys playing against” when he became manager, and he has already made decent strides on that front. Chelsea have kept 18 clean sheets in 28 matches under the German, and their shock 5-2 league defeat to West Brom was his only fixture of his tenure thus far in which they conceded more than one goal.

However, such solid defensive displays have been occasionally hindered by an inconsistent attack that is sometimes guilty of squandering opportunities to take control of matches. Indeed, Chelsea have scored three or more goals in just three fixtures in 2021, and two of those were against Morecambe and Luton Town in the FA Cup.

Therefore, Chelsea’s chances of victory directly depend on to what extent they can trouble City’s defence. While Timo Werner’s goal-scoring output this season has been branded disappointing, his sheer pace on the ball could prove crucial and he registered the assist for the winning goal in the last two meetings between these sides.

Half of Chelsea’s 18 wins under Tuchel were by a solitary goal, and they are available to win by a -0.5 Handicap at 4.030*. They also failed to score in all four of their defeats under him, and are 2.350* to be absent from the scoresheet after 90 minutes.

City’s superior strength in depth and more intimidating attack lends to their status as favourites, although the fact that Chelsea recently beat their opponents in both the FA Cup and Premier League may offer them a mental edge. Their respective defensive records in this season’s Champions League suggests a low-scoring affair could be in order, and bettors may be inclined to keep an eye on under 1.5 goals at 2.990*.

Suitably, the recent history of Champions League finals also dictates that you shouldn’t expect many goals in the first half. Of the last 10, just two featured more than one goal in the opening 45 minutes, whereas four witnessed none whatsoever. If this match follows the pattern of the two sides gradually deploying a more aggressive outlook as proceedings unfold, then the final to feature a goalless first half at 1.649* could represent good value.

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