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What went wrong for Pep in the Champions league final?


Staff member
Jan 17, 2015
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Ipswich Town
Pep Guardiola’s Man City fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Chelsea in their first Champions League final on Saturday. The Citizens were pre-match favourites to add to their Premier League and EFL cup titles this season, as it’s no secret that the club’s owners brought in Guardiola to win them the Champions league trophy after having numerous managers successfully claim the league domestically. Given City’s comfortably winning the Premier League this season, bookies were backing his side to finally seal European success and bring home the most prized asset in club football.

However, Guardiola made some crucial player changes and tweaks to his tactical formation that proved costly. As a result of the final, all eyes will be firmly fixed on the blue side of Manchester as bookmakers will look to see if Pep’s side can bounce back to winning ways now a resurgent Chelsea are on the rise, so to keep up with the latest odds and developments visit for more information.

So, where exactly did it go so wrong for Guardiola’s men after such a promising season? Firstly, having made some tactical changes and tweaks to his starting line-up proved costly as this played into Chelsea’s hands with N’Golo Kante, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount dominating the midfield and pressing City’s defence in dangerous areas.

Ultimately, Chelsea bypassed City’s midfield to score the only goal, with Mason Mount driving forward and playing a long ball to Havertz, who rounded Ederson and tapped in the winner in the first half.

Dropping Fernandinho and Rodri

Guardiola’s most surprising call was to drop a holding midfielder for the final. Both Fernandinho and Rodri were left out of the starting 11 with attacking midfielder Ilkay Gundogan playing central in a midfield three with Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva on either side.

Only once in 60 matches has Guardiola opted to play without Rodri or Fernandinho, and the lack of organisation and positioning exposed City. There was a lack of organisation along City’s backline when Chelsea broke through and scored - a threat which Fernandinho and Rodri often react quickly to close out with good positioning and well-timed closing down.

Mason Mount was allowed time and space to drive into City’s midfield, while Oleksandr Zinchenko and Rueben Dias were split by simple runs from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, which led to Chelsea’s winning goal.

The lack of leadership and stability in midfield allowed N’Golo Kante and Havertz, in particular, to win the ball back with ease and carve open City time and time again in the first half.

Choosing a False Nine

City’s problems in the final weren’t confined to the defensive third either. Guardiola chose to play Kevin De Bruyne in a false nine position, with Raheem Sterling and Riyad Maherz swapping positions in a fluid front three.

Although City created some dangerous chances, with Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden going close in the first half, Chelsea were never really under threat. Guardiola’s side finished the match with just one shot on target, and Chelsea’s keeper Edouard Mendy made just one save.

City have regularly used a false nine to good effect this season. But more direct centre forward play, putting Chelsea under pressure and challenging their backline, was desperately needed in the Champions League final.

Gabriel Jesus was brought on for the injured De Bruyne on 60 minutes, while Sergio Aguero was eventually subbed on with 20 minutes remaining in the match. However, Chelsea were happy to defend their lead by this stage and easily snubbed out any last gasp danger from City.

Guardiola’s downfall in the Champions League final was trying to dominate the game with too many creative players and intricate football. A lack of structure, provided by Rodri and Fernandinho, and the lack of cutting edge, supplied by Aguero or Jesus, left City out of balance, and Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea cut the Citizens apart and never faced any real threat of a comeback from Guardiola’s side.


New Member
Oct 23, 2020
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They got hussled. If you give good players time, they'll just do their magic, but if you get tight on them they can't.

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