In a hard-fought UEFA Champions League final in Porto, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea were able to defeat Guardiola’s Man City with a fearless and disciplined performance. Let’s now take a look into the finer tactical points of this victory.

Chelsea produced an organized, disciplined and determined performance to claim the coveted Champions League trophy against Manchester City.

Putting in a tremendous collective effort to restrict City to just one shot on target, their amazing 1-0 victory was built on their mammoth defensive efforts.

Having lost the final last year with Paris Saint-Germain, Tuchel was delighted to enjoy success this time around, which entirely vindicated Chelsea's decision to give him the job at the end of last year. "You know I was so grateful to arrive a second time (in the final after doing so with PSG last year) but this felt different. I told people before somehow it was," Tuchel explained.

"It was an incredibly tough fight, what a fight. Today they were determined to win this. We wanted to be the stone in their (City's) shoe.”

Getting his game plan and team selection spot on, the German played Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount as his front three, Jorginho and N'Golo Kante in central midfield, Ben Chilwell and Reece James at wingback and a back three of Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Defending in 5-2-3 or 4-3-3 type shapes (depending on the scenario) when pressing high or dropping back to more of a 5-4-1 when deeper, Chelsea carried out their stopping strategy brilliantly to stifle their exceptional opponents. Doing a fantastic job of positioning themselves to access their designated opponents while screening forward passing lanes, they were effective at not allowing City to exploit damaging central areas. In addition, how they shifted across, pushed up and dropped back as a unit offered a testament to their manager's preparations. Rarely allowing City to penetrate through the middle, their horizontal compactness from half space to half made it extremely challenging for City's gifted attackers to influence proceedings.

Chelsea's 5-2-3 defensive scheme (image made with Wyscout Playlist & Draw tool).

With the Blues content for City to pass the ball wide, the displays of James and Chilwell deserve mention, for they did a fine job in their 1v1 duels with Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, respectively.

It must be said that City did actually complete many positive actions to find some joy against the Chelsea press. Starting the game in an interesting 3-4-3 diamond shape, Pep Guardiola posed some challenging questions to Chelsea. With Ilkay Gundogan forming the base of a midfield diamond that also consisted of Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko, who tucked in from his nominal fullback post, Chelsea's midfielders and defenders were posed with marking issues.

City 3-4-3 diamond shape.

The most common of these issues arrived when City's dropping midfielders were able to lure out Chelsea's outside central defenders, which opened the possibility for runners to exploit the created space to get in behind. Moreover, when one of the central defenders was drawn out, it further isolated Sterling and Mahrez on the wings to use their class in isolation. Even though the City wide men didn't find as much joy, City's mechanics still played into their hands.

Rüdiger getting drawn out to create space for a City depth runner.

It was also notable how Kevin De Bruyne would smartly pin defenders, plus how City executed some slick rotations and opposite movements in the final third, which they, unfortunately, couldn't fully capitalize on due to Chelsea's superb organization.

City notably also mixed their build-up shapes to try and destabilize the Chelsea rearguard by trying methods like going 5v5 against the Blues backline, switching between a back three or four and hoping to forge overloads in wide areas.

City going 5v5 against Chelsea's backline.

Another fascinating element of the final was how City pressed Chelsea high when Tuchel's men were building out from the back, and how the winning side coped with this. As can be seen below, City pressed in what was ostensibly a mix between a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and a 4-1-2-3, with their first line oriented towards Chelsea's back three. Sterling, De Bruyne and Mahrez all performed dual roles though, as Sterling and Mahrez would position themselves to press the wide centre halves while keeping the wingbacks in their cover shadow. De Bruyne would then often press onto Edouard Mendy, making sure to curve his press to block the lane to the middle centre back.

City's interesting pressing shape.

Chelsea's double pivot of Kante and Jorginho would be marked by two of Foden, Silva and Gundogan, as the spare man (mostly Gundogan or Silva) would offer support to the backline or to his midfielders depending on the situation.

City's fullbacks would hold their shape and press forward if the Chelsea wingback on their side received possession, which saw City then left 3v3 with Chelsea's front three.

On many occasions, the City press worked nicely to force their foes wide and use the touchline as an extra defender, which left Chelsea hemmed in. Chelsea did, however, find joy too, as they'd hit chipped balls into their wingbacks, which forced the ball side City fullback out. Once this occurred, Werner and Havertz would make runs in behind into the vacated space against City's high line, with their movement successfully manipulating City's backline in the process.

Werner exploiting the vacant space due to City's high line and high press.
A clever angled run-in behind by Werner.

After threatening many times during the first half, this tactic was the catalyst for their game-winning goal, where Chelsea initially found Chilwell with a ball over the press. He then found Mount, who had time and space to turn due to John Stones being unsure whether to follow him deep. Mount then assessed his options and saw Havertz making a clever run in behind after Werner had drawn Ruben Dias wide to open a gap for him. The Englishman then played in Havertz with a lovely through ball which the German latched onto and then beat Ederson to score with a cool finish.

Chelsea's movement ahead of their goal.

Masterfully luring City forward and exposing their high line with their direct play and intelligent movement, Chelsea executed this passage to perfection, which ultimately gave them the win.

Although the Citizens pushed hard for an equalizer and brought on Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus, they just couldn't breach the supremely disciplined and tenacious Chelsea rearguard, who repelled and handled just about everything City threw at them.

By the numbers, the fact Chelsea only allowed City an Expected Goals reading of just 0.89 and only gave up eight shots (only one of which was on target) illustrated their remarkable stopping efforts against arguably the world's best offensive force.

With Tuchel overseeing a deserved victory in Europe's elite competition, where he got his tactics spot on to propel his team to glory, he capped off what's been a sensational six months in charge. Having suffered the heartache of losing last year's Champions League final, the win will be extra sweet for the tactically sophisticated German coach.

Possessing such a young squad full of talent all over the pitch, this could well be the start of something extremely special at Chelsea under Tuchel, who appear primed for many more magical moments like this in the years to come.

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