• News

Keown identifies key Chelsea tactic that can hurt Man City

Getty Images

Ahead of the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea, Martin Keown has weighed in his thoughts.

Martin Keown believes Chelsea can hurt Manchester City by playing on the counter and making use of Timo Werner’s pace.

The Blues will lock horns with City in Porto, Portugal, for the Champions League final on Saturday. The stakes are high in an all-English final. Chelsea may have won the last two meetings, but Pep Guardiola is arguably yet to field his strongest XI against Thomas Tuchel.

The German has beaten Guardiola in each of his two encounters in England so far, despite Chelsea having fewer shots and less possession.

But as that plan has worked out well so far, Keown sees no reason why Tuchel shouldn’t adopt a similar tactic.

“Chelsea will have been working on creating a defensive shield in training for those periods where City dominate possession,” wrote the former Arsenal defender in his Daily Mail column.

“With their wing-backs, they’ll create a back five, and they’ll have their two midfield sitters close by. Tuchel’s inside forwards – Mason Mount and one of Christian Pulisic or Hakim Ziyech – will need to be dropping deep to help their midfield. Timo Werner, whose pace is an important weapon, is then capable of leading any breakaways.

“Chelsea would love a repeat of their FA Cup semi-final win. That victory may have been over City’s B team, but the tactics worked to perfection as Werner broke at speed and set up Ziyech to score.

“Tuchel is likely to set the Blues up to play on the counter attack which has worked previously

“The statistics say no one has managed more counter-attacks in the Champions League this season than Chelsea and they’ve got the legs to hurt City that way.

“As a former defender, I’ll be interested in seeing how Tuchel’s back three handle the challenge.”