As much as football is a team game, an 11-v-11 encounter that could devolve into 11 duels, dominant personalities have shown through history that football matches can be won by the force of will and determination of a particular player.
Apart from the tactical and technical nuances that will be in play between City’s genius manager, Pep Guardiola and the tactically-obsessive Thomas Tuchel, there are five individual duels on the pitch that will go a long way to determining whether there will be a new winner on the trophy or the winners’ list will remain at 22.
Kevin De Bruyne v N’Golo Kante
The most competent football players have a way of finding space and time to hurt their opponents.
City’s De Bruyne is a grand exponent of finding space and time to deliver defence-splitting passes and accurate deliveries that unhinge the opponent but in Kante, he confronts an opponent, whose energy and ebullience to close down those spaces before they become dangerous for his team.
Who will make use of space better in Lisbon on Saturday?
John Stones v Timo Werner
As the season has progressed, Stones has shown a better understanding with Ruben Dias and has ensured the team conceded just 40 goals in 57 matches in all competitions-an average of less than a goal per game.
Despite the increased solidity from the England defender, there is still the occasional lapse in concentration that a speedster in Werner can use to do damage.
Though the German striker has not hit the number of goals that was expected of him, he has been involved in 23 goals in 51 matches.
Phil Foden v Jorginho
The most exciting talent from the City team is the youngster Foden and on the opposite lane in the Chelsea team will be Jorginho, who has a failing of speed and can be caught with the ball at his feet.
Foden, 21, has been involved in 26 goals and forced himself ahead of a player like Raheem Sterling. It is unbelievable that Jorginho made more tackles and had more successful dribbles than Foden in the EPL.
Kyle Walker v Ben Chilwell
Two England international defenders who love attacking will come face-to-face on Saturday, seeking to push the other back and decrease the attacking nous of the opponent.
While Walker has played 10 UCL matches, Chilwell has played just one less but the gap in successful dribbles is huge; 60-36 and the City defender has also made more tackles, 22-9.
Riyad Mahrez v Antonio Rudiger
The lane through which Mahrez wreaks the most havoc on opponents is the inside right area where Rudiger will be Chelsea’s defender on Saturday.
The Algerian has scored four goals in City’s road to the final and really came into his own in the semi-final win over PSG.
Rudiger has had two halves to the season-one under the sacked Frank Lampard, where he was a peripheral figure and a dominant part of Tuchel’s Chelsea resurgence.
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