Man City vs Chelsea: Jamie Redknapp on how Blues can spring another upset – and some of the standout talents in each camp
Manchester City and Chelsea have enjoyed a historic week, with Pep Guardiola’s side reaching their first Champions League final, and Chelsea following them to Istanbul by booking their spot in the May 29 showpiece.
Impressive, assured wins over Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, respectively, underlined the quality in both camps – and, intriguingly they meet in the Premier League this Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Their clash at the Etihad will be seen by some as a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final itself – but there’s plenty riding on the Premier League match-up.
For Manchester City, there is the opportunity to clinch the Premier League title. For Chelsea, a tough hurdle in the race for the top four must be overcome.
The pressure is on the Blues, in particular, with West Ham just three points behind them and Tottenham and Liverpool not far off, either.
However, on this week’s Pitch to Post Preview Podcast, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp explained how Chelsea’s recent FA Cup semi-final win over City offers them a template of how to upset Guardiola’s champions-in-waiting once more this weekend – and perhaps again in the Champions League final.
You can hear his full assessment of how Saturday’s showdown will play out by listening to the Pitch to Post Preview Podcast.
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On the show, Redknapp also named some standout performers from City and Chelsea’s recent Champions League heroics.
Read on to see why he believes Ruben Dias has been key to City’s improvement this season, why Kai Havertz is starting to shine for Chelsea, and how improved coaching in academies has delivered young English talents Phil Foden and Mason Mount to the biggest stage in club football…
Ruben Dias, Man City – “He has got that Kompany/Terry/Vidic aura about him”
“When you look at what’s changed from this year to last year, obviously the circumstances, but I do look at individuals and how they can turn a team’s fortunes and I believe that person for City is Ruben Dias.
“He has created a brilliant environment there – you can see any time he makes a challenge, any time he makes a block, he’s high-fiving, he gets people together… he’s just a leader of men and for such a young man, to have that quality it’s so unusual, especially in the modern day.
“He has got that Vincent Kompany, John Terry, Nemanja Vidic aura about him. He wants to defend, he’s old school in that manner, but an incredible defender.
“That’s the difference between this year and last year with City because they made so many individual errors with goals and they never really had a partnership. But Dias has made John Stones look like the defender we all thought he could be.”
Kai Havertz, Chelsea – “An exceptional talent; he glides around the pitch”
“Havertz was a player that really impressed me against Real Madrid. Over the last three or four weeks, you can see a young player with tremendous quality. He glides around the pitch, it’s effortless for him and the qualities he possesses.
“That’s why I was understanding of his problems earlier in the year: he’d had COVID, he’d been away from home in a year like no other, family and friends couldn’t visit him… We expect players to come into our league and hit the ground running and be amazing but it just doesn’t work like that.
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- Analysis: Man City’s march to the CL final
- Analysis: Collective key for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea
“I think from his perspective, the form we’re seeing Havertz in now is the player I watched a lot in the Bundesliga last year. I was pretty sure he was going to become that player. He had a similar season in Germany to that, where in the first half of the season he struggled then second half he really came into his own.
“He’s an exceptional talent. He travels so well with the ball. A little bit like – and I’m not comparing him to him yet – but Kevin De Bruyne, who has that unbelievable pace when he dribbles with it and so does Havertz. He’s very quick with the ball. You could see it at times against Real Madrid as he was going past people.”
Phil Foden, Man City & Mason Mount, Chelsea – “We should be excited about these talents”
“When you talk about the Young Player of the Year prize, we’re going to see the two of them on Saturday with Mason Mount and Phil Foden. It’s a difficult one to pick between the two of them – I’d love to give it to both of them! I think they both deserve it they’re that good. They’ll be vying for many Player of the Year prizes in the future as well.
“Players come along every now and again and they are so exceptional. I remember the first time I saw Steven Gerrard play, it was like ‘wow!’. The way they pass the ball, the way they move, it’s just different. And I think with these two young players you see it as well.
“I love both of them but they’re both so different which is even better. There’s not going to be a ‘who plays, Foden or Mount?’ debate. They can play together. I’m so happy we’ve got these players.
“Foden does things I’ve only seen a few players do with a football. The way he drifts past people, he never looks at the ball, he’s always got his head up. He did something in midweek against Paris Saint-Germain: I thought he’d lost it, he was nearly on the floor, then he went boom, boom, boom, chopped it over someone, lifted it over another player and I was like, ‘oh my goodness this kid is playing another sport to most other players!’.
“Sometimes we can get carried away but we should be excited about these talents.
“This goes back to a lot of what I’m seeing with academy football now, with City’s academy, with Chelsea’s academy. They’re producing different types of players now. When I was a kid we produced good players but maybe they were one-footed or they couldn’t dribble it or receive it on the half-turn.
“This is what we’ve been crying out for for years. As an example, the amount of times we play Croatia and we can’t get near Luka Modric and his like in midfield. It’s cost us by not being able to retain the ball as well. But now we shouldn’t have these problems.
“We should look at it and think, ‘we can compete, we can hold the ball, we can be comfortable on it in different situations, we can receive the ball on the half turn in between the lines…’ I’m so excited about the future. And it’s not just these two, there’s many more coming through – and fingers crossed England can really benefit in the summer.
“There will be so much chat about these two for the Champions League final and it’s great two of the players who will be most talked about will be two English boys.”
Pitch to Post Preview: Jamie Redknapp on Man City vs Chelsea; Plus: what next for Arsenal, Man Utd after EL ties, and the top four race
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp joins Peter Smith to discuss Manchester City and Chelsea reaching the Champions League final ahead of their clash at the Etihad this weekend. He also picks out some standout performers from both sides, explaining how Ruben Dias has transformed City, and praising the rise of Phil Foden and Mason Mount.
Sky Sports football writers Oli Yew and Ben Grounds are also on the show to discuss Arsenal’s Europa League exit and Man Utd’s progress to the final – and what comes next for both sides, with Mikel Arteta under pressure and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looking to kick on. Ben also assesses the top four race, with some key fixtures coming up, and makes his Pitch for what he thinks will happen in the Premier League this weekend!
Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox
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