Porto now favorite to host Champions League final as UEFA talks ‘falter’ for Wembley

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We Ain't Got No History 10 May, 2021 - 03:04pm 46 views

Where Will Champions League Final be played?

The final, which is planned for May 29 at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, is the biggest day on the European club soccer calendar; like the Super Bowl and the Wimbledon final, the Champions League final is one of the tent-pole events in global sports every year. The New York TimesChampions League Final Weighs Move to London or Portugal

Istanbul looks to be out thanks to their current coronavirus lockdown as well as the UK government’s decision to place Turkey on a travel “red list” (in effect a travel ban). London’s own Wembley looked a likely alternative, but talks to move it there have apparently faltered, as per Tariq Panja of the New York Times, who’s been at the forefront of this story since the beginning.

Central to the talks were (are?) UEFA’s requirements to not only allow fans at some decent percentage of capacity (20k or more), but to allow for quarantine-free movement for both the players and UEFA’s own dignitaries, officials, and VIPs. And it’s that latter issue that’s apparently the sticking point, with the government open to allowing at least as many fans as are set to attend the FA Cup final this weekend (20k), but not giving UEFA the necessary waivers for other foreign arrivals and attendees.

This has made Porto the most likely host for the final, with Portugal on the UK’s travel green list and the country not having any quarantine requirements for approved travelers with valid and recent (72 hours) negative COVID-19 tests.

Porto now the favourite to host Man City-Chelsea final. As we reported yesterday it was the likely backup option should today's talks between UEFA and British govt falter. They haven't gone well. UEFA so far not getting waivers it requires to move final to London (Wembley)

Read full article at We Ain't Got No History

Champions League final: Portugal could host final rather than Wembley

BBC News 10 May, 2021 - 05:09pm

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Thomas Tuchel's untouchable star who is Frank Lampard's biggest transfer success story

Football.London 10 May, 2021 - 05:09pm

Tuchel has been in charge of the team for 25 games now and has still lost only two of them. One was the complete aberration against West Bromwich Albion Albion and the other after conceding a 92nd minute wondergoal against Porto in the Champions League.

The Blues have threatened to take some teams to the cleaners, they did against Crystal Palace, but goalscoring and more specifically, Chelsea’s profligacy, has arguably been the only slight downer on Tuchel’s reign so far though still, that hasn’t actually been that bad.

Chelsea have secured 11 shutouts in 16 Premier League games, 18 in all competitions, since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January, which is mind-boggling.

The team had conceded 24 goals in the 19 games Lampard oversaw this season before Tuchel came in. Chelsea have conceded only ten goals under the German and half of those came in one game against West Brom.

Tuchel has come up against Zinedine Zidane twice, Pep Guardiola twice, Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone (also twice), winning eight times. Chelsea are third in the Premier League now, having been tenth when he took over.

It hasn’t taken much to get the Blues ticking by Tuchel. The squad was already there, it was simply devoid of confidence from the latter days of the Lampard era.

One of those players whose confidence looked shot was Edouard Mendy. That’s not to say the keeper was in bad form prior to Tuchel’s arrival because he wasn’t, but there was a keeper who was certainly weighed down by expectation after Lampard had jettisoned Kepa to the bench.

Mendy knew he had to make his chance count but appeared skittish, nervy, almost too eager to impress. Since Tuchel has come in, there has been a marked change.

Fortunately for those of us who have been able to watch Premier League football in stadiums this season, we have seen Mendy grow from a rather quiet keeper so fearful of making a mistake, to one who is an extremely vocal leader on the pitch for the Blues.

“Edou” as he is affectionately known by Tuchel and the Chelsea squad, has grown so much in confidence in the last five months, basically since Tuchel came into the club with the remit of getting the Blues back in the top four.

Tuchel’s use of Kepa as well has kept Mendy on his toes. The Spanish stopper has played five times since the German came in, twice in the Premier League, just as a reminder to Mendy that he can’t rest in his laurels. Tuchel has more faith in Kepa than Lampard ever had.

The Senegalese stopper has responded to the challenge tremendously and has kept 16 clean sheets this season for both Tuchel and Lampard.

His Champions League record is extraordinary, eight clean sheets in 11 games and a record that no other goalkeeper for an English side in the competition can match.

Mendy’s high point of the campaign came in European competition when he made two magnificent saves to deny Karim Benzema at Stamford Bridge as Real Madrid desperately searched for an away goal in the semi final tie, one that never arrived.

A month into Tuchel’s reign at the club, Mendy said of the impact the former Paris St Germain coach had made: “The coach gives confidence to all the players.

“We know what he wants so when we are on the pitch we have to show why he has chosen us.

“It’s very positive for all the players because he gives us a lot of confidence and we need to improve and to play great football when we are on the pitch.

“He is very expressive. He shows when he likes something. When you did well on the pitch and every day at training and in the game he pushes you. He stays positive but he also shows his determination and that is good for me and the team.”

It has been good for the team and it has also been good for Mendy. There were many, many reports linking the Blues with a swoop for Gianluigi Donarrumma this summer but those have been very quiet in the last month or two.

Lampard felt he had to replace Kepa with Mendy in what was the worst kept secret in football last summer so maybe the former manager can take some credit for bringing in the former Rennes man.

It has just taken Tuchel’s guidance to bring out the very best in his goalkeeper.

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Mirror.co.uk 10 May, 2021 - 05:09pm

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Champions League final could be played at Wembley, with Chelsea fans in attendance

Chelsea News 10 May, 2021 - 05:09pm

The Times are reporting that the Champions League final will be moved from Istanbul to Wembley.

UEFA have apparently agreed to the move, a year on from switching last year’s final from Istanbul to a mini tournament in Portugal.

With two English teams in the final, and a limited attendance at Wembley possible, it ended up being a no brainer. The coronavirus situation in Turkey is bad at the moment, and that, along with the British government’s decision to “red list” Turkey probably contributing to the decision.

It has yet to be made official, but we’re increasingly sure that this will be the case. The reports claim that 1200 tickets will go to fans of each side.

Istanbul would likely be awarded the final for next year – for the second year in a row.

Overall it looks like a sensible move, and probably one everyone can get behind. Good luck getting a ticket.

© 2016 Chelsea News. All rights reserved.

Guardiola: Pressure to win the title is what I want

Manchester City FC 09 May, 2021 - 10:30pm

Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Chelsea combined with second-placed Manchester United’s win at Aston Villa on Sunday, meant our wait to clinch what would be a third title in four years goes on.

City could yet be crowned before we return to action at Newcastle on Friday night with United playing twice before then and needing to avoid defeat to keep their hopes alive.

But, addressing the media in the wake of Saturday’s frustrating loss, the boss said he welcomed the demands that come with seeking such success.

“The pressure to win the title is the pressure I want. We need that pressure to be a top side and a top squad,” Guardiola asserted.

“People said the Premier League is over, but it is not over. You have to win the games.

“On Saturday we had the chances but, unfortunately it could not be possible for different reasons.

“We’re going to prepare now, mentally.

“We have one or two days off then focus, analyse Newcastle and try to win the game.”

EFL open to moving play-off finals for Champions League at Wembley

Daily Mail 08 May, 2021 - 07:02am

By Ed Elliot, Press Association

The three EFL play-off finals could be rearranged to allow the all-English Champions League final to be staged at Wembley.

Manchester City's clash with Chelsea is currently scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 29 in Istanbul.

But, after the Government announced Turkey had been added to the 'red list' of high-risk countries on Friday, calls for a change of venue for the all-Premier League affair have intensified.

The three EFL play-offs may be moved to allow the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea to take place at Wembley

Wembley is due to host the Championship play-off final on May 29 with the League One and League Two equivalents scheduled for the next two days

UK citizens returning from 'red list' countries are required to quarantine at a Government-approved hotel for 10 days.

Wembley is due to host the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on May 29, with the League One and League Two equivalents arranged for the following two days.

It is understood the EFL would consider all options - including altering the arrangements for those fixtures to accommodate the Champions League final - should they be contacted by UEFA.

The EFL are said to be open to weighing up options if they are contacted by UEFA in the future

That could mean the matches being played on different dates, or at alternative venues.

There has so far been no approach from UEFA and the governing body is continuing with preparations for the Champions League final to be played at the Ataturk Stadium as planned.

Turkey is currently in lockdown amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases.

Speaking on Friday, transport secretary Grant Shapps said the British Government was 'very open to hosting the final' and that the Football Association was in discussions with UEFA.

Istanbul (pictured) is set to host the Champions League final but is on the Government's red list

He also told fans not to travel to Istanbul.

The FA declined to comment on the situation when approached on Saturday morning, while UEFA's stance had not changed.

'I'm afraid we are having to put Turkey on the red list. This will have a number of ramifications. First of all, it does mean with the regards to the Champions League, fans should not travel to Turkey,' Shapps told Friday's press conference.

'The FA are in discussions with UEFA on this. We are very open to hosting the final but it is ultimately a decision for UEFA.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the Government are 'very open' to hosting the match

'Red countries are those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances.'

City and Chelsea booked their places in the showpiece event earlier this week after overcoming Paris St Germain and Real Madrid respectively.

Reports on Thursday claimed Aston Villa had offered to host the match. 

It is believed that, while the West Midlands club would be happy for Villa Park to be considered for the final should it be moved, they acknowledge that UEFA has said the venue is not changing.

Aston Villa are said to have offered to host but understand UEFA said the venue won't change 

It is also understood Tottenham have no plans to make their stadium available for the game.

Two days after the Champions League final, Northern Ireland are scheduled to play a friendly in Turkey.

The Irish FA have declined to comment on that fixture at this stage.

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