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UCL final: Can Chelsea make it three wins in a row against Man City?

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  • Werner is one Chelsea player that can ‘hurt’ Man City, says Joe Cole

The final of this season’s UEFA Champions League holds today, an all-English final for only the third time in the competition’s history, with Manchester City facing Chelsea, says a report by Total Football Analysis.

It notes that this is the first time City have made it to the final of the Champions League, while it will be Pep Guardiola’s third final, having won both his previous finals with Barcelona, incidentally against Manchester United both times.

Chelsea, on the other hand, make their third appearance at this stage, having won the competition quite memorably in 2012, with Thomas Tuchel becoming the first manager ever to reach the final of the Champions League in consecutive seasons with two different teams, having been on the losing side with Paris Saint-Germain last season.

In his entire managerial career, Man City manager Pep Guardiola has lost more matches against Chelsea in all competitions than any other club (seven). He has lost his last two games against the Blues, only losing three in a row against Real Madrid (2012-14) and Liverpool (2018).

Chelsea have won their last two matches against Manchester City in all competitions, both coming since Thomas Tuchel took over at the club. They last won three in a row against Manchester City between 2005 and 2009, when they won eight in a row.

 

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne admits the fear of losing will play a big role in the mentality of all the players in Saturday’s Champions League final against Chelsea.

It is 51 years since Manchester City last played in a major European final – beating Górnik Zabrze 2-1 in the 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup final – breaking the record for the longest gap between finals for a team, with Sporting CP going 41 years between the 1964 Cup Winners’ Cup final and 2005 UEFA Cup final.

Manchester City have won 11 UEFA Champions League matches this season and victory in this match would see them equal the all-time record of 12 by Real Madrid in 2001-02, although the Spaniards played 17 matches that campaign, compared to City’s 13 this season.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola explains the difficulties of leaving players out of the starting line-up for Saturday’s Champions League final against Chelsea.

Guardiola says having to leave out players from his starting line-up is a task he would not wish on anyone.

Given the strength in depth of his squad, top internationals such as Brazilian Gabriel Jesus, England’s Raheem Sterling and Spain defender Aymeric Laporte could begin the game on the bench, as could club-record goalscorer Sergio Aguero.

Asked at the pre-match news conference what it was like to have to break his selection news to the players, Guardiola said, “Terrible. It’s absolutely disaster, don’t be a manager in your life.”

The Spaniard said there were no words that he could conjure up to ease the pain for the players concerned.

He says, “I don’t have any nice words but my advice is stay with the team as there are five or six subs and life gives you another chance.

“Work harder and maybe next time you’ll be there. I feel incredibly sorry for them but I have to be honest, I know them and I make a selection to win the game, no alternative.”

Tuchel: It’s not me versus Pep

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says their Champions League final opponents Manchester City are the ‘strongest team in the world’.

Chelsea have beaten City twice since Thomas Tuchel took charge of the London club in January, winning in the FA Cup semi-final and then in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium.

But the German is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team against the Premier League champions in Porto.

 

Werner is one Chelsea player that can ‘hurt’ Man City in UCL final, says Joe Cole

Joe Cole believes Timo Werner will be one of the first names on Chelsea’s team sheet in Saturday’s Champions League final against Manchester City.

Since taking over from Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel has introduced a lot of changes into this Chelsea side; formation, regulars.

But the team essentially still plays possession-based football under both managers.

In fact, they averaged the third-highest possession (58.6 percent — via Whoscored) in the Premier League this season.

At the Estadio do Dragao, however, they are going to face Manchester City — a team that averaged the highest possession in the league (60.8 percent).

Obviously, Chelsea would not want to let Manchester City dominate the possession and play into their hands.

But competing for possession will not be the only way to “hurt” the Premier League champions, according to Cole.

“Pep [Guardiola’s] players play a certain way and if you can get players in behind them, you are going to get space at some point in the game,” the former Blues winger told the Sunday World.

“Timo Werner will probably start, as he is a player who can hurt them. And I don’t think he is playing for his future at Chelsea in this game.

“We see great players come to this country, and they take some time to settle down.

“It’s been difficult for everyone this season, but there have been some great signs from him in the last few weeks.

“He affects the game and I think he’s going to be a good player for Chelsea and some time to improve.”

A lot of people seem to share Cole’s view about Werner’s potentially being the biggest threat to Manchester City’s Champions League hopes.

In Friday’s press conference, Cesar Azpilicueta said the Germany international can “make the difference” in the final.

And earlier, Guardiola highlighted Werner’s counter-attacking threat as one of the reasons Chelsea are “difficult” to play against.

It was very evident that Manchester City defenders had a hard time dealing with Werner’s pace in their two losses against Chelsea — in which the striker made two decisive assists.

-The Chelsea Chronicle

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Osinbajo: How Nigeria can banish poverty with $450bn AfCFTA insurance market

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The Nigerian insurance industry can tap into over $450 billion (N185 trillion) available at African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) potential trade market to take millions of people out of poverty, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

He shared this at the closing ceremony of the 47th African Insurance Organisation Conference and Annual General Assembly, urging the operators to come up with homegrown international insurance groups.

He said, “The free trade agreement presents a major opportunity for African countries. By some estimates, if we get it right, we can bring several millions out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day. There are potential income gains of up to $450bn, and just cutting red tape and simplifying customs procedures alone could drive up to $250bn of that sum.”

The vice president applauded the operators for putting the country in the spotlight and charged them to work towards having homegrown international insurance conglomerates.

He urged the insurance companies on the African continent to leverage AfCFTA to increase productivity, adding that every smart economic grouping, whether government or business, must be thinking, planning and strategising for these new times.

He added, “Services can be set up faster than manufacturing plants. Nigerian financial services companies, especially banks, are already in many African countries, the likes of Zenith, Access and UBA. How about insurance companies? We should now be looking at developing homegrown international African insurance conglomerates. The time is now.”

The Commissioner of Insurance, Pension and Provident Funds, Insurance and Pensions Commission, Zimbabwe, Grace Muradzikwa, said traditional insurance companies must adapt to emerging realities in developing insurance products and selling them if they must remain in business.

She opined that insurance innovation was critical at this time because just 3.5 per cent of the African population was insured and that Africa was lagging behind other emerging markets.

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Photos: Motorists face nightmare on Ilorin-Jebba highway

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Lagos target 22-hour daily power supply, plans free prepaid meters

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The Lagos State Government has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Ikeja Electric and Sahara Power Group to supply uninterrupted power for at least 22 hours daily to residents of the state.

Another leg of the agreement is the distribution of free prepaid meters to low-income areas, with the pilot phase of 20,000 meters to be distributed in the Alimosho Local Government Area of the state.

The state Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Olalere Odusote, said at the signing of the agreement that the project would increase power supply to at least 22 hours daily as well as solve the problem of metering and infrastructure deficit.

He said implementation will commence immediately, stating that the Lagos State government has identified a number of feeders that can provide power in 20,000 low-income areas with plans to replicate the initiative across the state.

“The 20,000 meters have been procured by the state government and would be distributed free to low-income areas in Alimosho Local Government Area as the pilot phase.”

The Managing Director of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Folake Soetan, expressed the firm’s readiness to support the state in ensuring uninterrupted power supply to residents.

The Managing Director of Sahara Power Group, Anthony Youdeowei, said his company would be transparent in its dealings with the government and Ikeja Electric to provide power for Lagosians.

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