Chelsea will be looking to lay their hands on the UEFA Champions League trophy for the first time since 2012 when they face Manchester City in the final in Portugal on Saturday evening.
After getting the better of Real Madrid in the semi-finals, the Blues, who secured a top four finish in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, despite suffering a final day defeat to Aston Villa, now find themselves one game away from laying their hands on the biggest prize that club football has to offer.
But even though Thomas Tuchel’s side will enter the contest with confidence and excitement running through their veins after dispatching of Atletico Madrid, Porto and Real in the knockout stages, going up against Pep Guardiola’s well-oiled, breathtaking City side will be a whole new challenge.
But whilst it will be tough, certainly as far as the occasion is concerned, Chelsea know what it takes to get the better of the newly-crowned Premier League champions, beating them twice since in the last six weeks.
To bolster their prospects of laying their hands on the prize even further, the Blues have been boosted by the fact that both Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante have trained at Cobham today ahead of the final. Mendy was forced off at half time against Villa with a blow to his ribs, whilst Kante missed the trip to the Midlands altogether because of a hamstring complaint.
However, both have given Tuchel a timely boost, sending a warning sign to Guardiola and City that, all being well, the Blues will enter the contest with their strongest starting line-up possible.
Whilst Kante’s return to training is a massive boost for Tuchel and Chelsea’s supporters, City and England star Phil Foden will not be so happy. That is because the Stockport-born attacking-midfielder has recently named the Frenchman as the “toughest opponent” he has ever come up against.
“He’s probably the most obvious one, but it’s Kante,” said Foden, speaking to Sky Sports. “He’s just everywhere.
“You think you’ve got away from him but he’s always just by your side.
“He does everything. He runs everywhere. He’s such a great player. I’d probably say he’s my toughest opponent I’ve played against.”
With that said, Foden will not be pleased by the fact that Kante has made significant progress in his battle to be fit in time for what would be his first Champions League final appearance of his career.
With Foden capable of dropping into pockets of space, carrying the ball and making things happen in the blink of an eye, Kante will be responsible for stopping the 20-year-old weaving his magic.
Kante is renowned as one of the best defensive-midfield enforcers in the world and will be key in Chelsea’s quest of winning the competition, as his tough-tackling and well-drilled approach will be vitally important to stop the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and Foden from strutting their stuff.
Source by Football London