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Opinion

Manchester City will win the 2021 UEFA Champions League

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Roar Rookie
28th May, 2021
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This is a bold statement for a fixture that has not yet occurred, but predictions like these are often thrown around by everyone ranging from the most avid fan to the least knowledgeable.

But this isn’t that type of prediction, it’s not one that is built on inherent biases and uneducated opinions.

Instead, these have been thrown out the window, in a prediction like no other.

The only way to fairly judge both Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, as well as their credentials, is solely through statistics and trends that have presented themselves over the last ten years.

So here it is, an unbiased, statistics-based guide to exactly who should win the 2021 UEFA Champions League.

Goals win games, and unsurprisingly teams that have the ability to score are far more likely to win this tournament.

Apart from in 2012 and 2013, the team with the most prolific scorer between the two squads for that tournament has gone on to win the final.

This year Chelsea holds the advantage, with Frenchman Olivier Giroud netting six goals compared to Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, who has just four.

The team who has scored the most combined goals throughout the tournament has also won on eight of the last ten occasions.

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Manchester City’s 25 goals are enough to get them the green light on this one, as Chelsea have only scored 22.

The old adage of ‘defence wins titles’ is simply not the case in the UEFA Champions League.

Teams who concede less goals have gone on to lose six of the last ten tournaments, however due to both clubs this year only conceding four goals, that statistic is irrelevant.

Pep Guardiola

(Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Having less clean sheets throughout the tournament leads to marginally more success, which favours City, who have held teams scoreless eight times compared to Chelsea’s nine.

Making winning a habit throughout the tournament is unsurprisingly crucial.

Only in 2011, 2012 and 2017 have teams who won less games throughout the tournament won in the final.

This is also the same when it comes to wins in the group stage and wins in the knockout stage.

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Manchester City this year have won 11 of their 12 possible games, which is the most won during one tournament in the last ten years.

Chelsea on the other hand have won only eight, pushing Manchester City into the box seat.

Statistically it is better to be tested in the Champions League, with teams that play against harder competition throughout their road to the finals traditionally being more successful.

Seven of the last ten winners had a tougher run compared to the runners up, including the last four.

Chelsea this year on average played against the eighth-ranked global opponent, while City were matched against the 23rd.

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The same story is depicted when looking at the highest ranked teams the individual squads played throughout the tournament.

Chelsea again came out on top having played second-placed Real Madrid, compared to City’s seventh-placed PSG.

Lastly, the position that each team finishes in their domestic leagues that season also paints a clear picture about who should win the final.

Only twice have teams who were ranked higher in domestic competitions not ended as the eventual champions, specifically in 2012 and 2014.

When both of the teams in the final finished first this statistic obviously holds little weight, however when at least one of the teams did not win their league – as is the case this season – then it does prove telling.

With Manchester City having won the Premier League this year, and Chelsea finishing fourth, this one again is in the favour of City.

Before the final results are revealed, it is quite interesting that in every data set, 2012 is the year that always bucks the trend.

Thomas Tuchel

(Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

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While an anomaly like this is usually not important, it becomes relevant when it is revealed that it was Chelsea that won against the odds that year.

While the team is totally different, it certainly is interesting that they are a club that has a history of winning when they statistically shouldn’t. Could they do it again?

So overall, according to statistics, Manchester City will win the 2021 UEFA Champions League final.

In the nine data sets Manchester City come out on top in six of them, with Chelsea only having a better goal scorer and playing tougher opposition.

However, statistics are not everything, as proven by every data set not having the projected team win every year, especially in the case of Chelsea in 2012.

They depict to us who should win, not necessarily who will.

These unbiased, scientific results are nevertheless far more likely to predict a winner compared to biased fans, and for that reason, should we just crown Manchester City now?

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