Two things that might determine the outcome of the Champions League final

Manchester City and Inter Milan clash in the Champions League final. Manchester City will be gunning for their first ever Champions League title while Inter have won the biggest prize in European club football three times in the past.

Pep Guardiola’s side are arguably the finest in Europe and hence, will start as the favorites in the final. However, Simone Inzaghi’s Inter might enjoy the status of the underdog, as it will lessen the pressure on them.

Inzaghi can refer to the last Champions League final played in Istanbul in 2005 that saw an inspired Liverpool come back from a 3-0 deficit to win on penalties against a mighty AC Milan side. However, Manchester City will give their all to break their Champions League jinx.

#1: Inter Milan playing with an extra defensive midfielder to counter Manchester City’s might in attack

Inter Milan played with a three-man midfield in their semifinal win over AC Milan, with Hakan Calhanoglu playing as the lone defensive midfielder. However, given City’s might in midfield and attack, Inzaghi might be forced to start with an additional holding midfielder in the form of Roberto Gagliardini.

City will more than likely start with their 3-2-4-1 formation and the presence of Rodri, John Stones, Kevin De Bruyne, and Ilkay Gundogan will stack the midfield battle in their favor. De Bruyne will be a key player for City and his tendency to take shots from outside the penalty box might prove to be dangerous for Inter. Gundogan will also make his probing runs into the opposition penalty box to continue his fine record of scoring goals in important matches. Hence, playing an extra defensive midfielder will help Inter deal with the threat.

However, they will have to drop either Nicolo Barella or Henrik Mkhitaryan from the starting eleven to accommodate someone like Gagliardini. Barella is their primary creative outlet and simply cannot be dropped. Mkhitaryan, too, played well and scored once in the semifinal against AC Milan. Hence, it will be a difficult decision for Inzaghi to make.

#2: Denzel Dumfries’ overlapping runs proving to be crucial

Manchester United exposed a potential weakness in Manchester City’s formation by attacking heavily through the right flank through Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the FA cup final. United also earned a penalty through one of their attacks through the right-hand side.

Inter Milan’s team-management might have taken note of that and hence, their right wing-back Dumfries might explore that area with his overlapping runs. Jack Grealish will try to contribute defensively by dropping back, but his shortcomings on the defensive side might be exploited by Inter.

Dumfries is has pace and his ability to send in crosses to the penalty box could prove to be crucial. With the likes of Edin Dzeko quite adept at scoring headed goals, it might be a critical component of Inter’s attacks. Manchester City are expected to dominate ball-possession, but Inter should look to attack through counters to take their defense by surprise.

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