Preview: Manchester City vs Inter Milan – prediction, team news, lineups (UEFA Champions League)

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All roads lead to Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, as Manchester City squares off with Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday night.

Both sides are billed to battle for the prestigious Champions League crown. Should City win, it’ll be the first time in their history to do so, and the second time an English side triumphs in the last 5 years. On the other hand, an Inter win will bring the Italian giants to their 4th overall title in Europe clubs’ elite competition.

Eighteen years on from Liverpool’s miracle of Istanbul, treble-chasing Manchester City will strive to emulate their Merseyside counterparts’ feats in the same city when they butt heads with Inter Milan in the final of the 2022-23 Champions League.

The two continental behemoths clash for the first time in competitive action at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium on the back of differing domestic fortunes, as Pep Guardiola added another two English football trophies to his cabinet, while the Nerazzurri’s title charge in Serie A was fleeting at best.

The Premier League champions obliterated holders Real Madrid 5-1 over two legs in the semi-finals to punch their ticket to the showpiece event, while Inter earned the local bragging rights with a 3-0 aggregate triumph over fellow San Siro tenants AC Milan.



Manchester City

Pep Guardiola‘s Man City will be heading to the Champions League final in their best form. Gundogan inspired a 2-1 FA Cup win over Man United last Saturday to bring the Citizens within one game of securing a treble season for Manchester City.

Credit: Iconsport

City have only lost once in their last 27 games; they’re unbeaten in the UCL this season, and will look to crown their efforts in the competition with a win on Saturday. They come into the match with a fully-fit squad, and are favourites to emerge victorious. However, Inter Milan have shown strength and depth this season in the competition, and will pose a serious threat to Pep’s men as the clash gets underway.

Form Guide: WWDLW

Inter Milan

The Nerazurri secured the Coppa Italia title with a victory over Fiorentina. Lautaro Martínez came up clutch in the game to get a brace that ensured Inter beat Fiorentina 2-1 last month. Since then, they’ve capped off the Italian season with consecutive victories in the last two games of the campaign.

Credit: Iconsport

Inter are in their best shape ahead of this final; they’ve lost just one time in their last 13 games, and are battle-ready to stage an upset against the favourites to send shock waves round the world.

Form Guide: WLWWW




Preview: Man City vs. Inter Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

The Man City medical team have largely been allowed to put their feet up ahead of Saturday’s final, although a minor concern for Kyle Walker was recently reported by Guardiola, who confessed that the right-back had been experiencing trouble with his back.

However, Walker himself has since alleviated concerns regarding his fitness, and the England international should form part of a fully-fit contingent for the Citizens, whose starting XI surely picks itself in Istanbul.

The same 10 outfield players that began the second-leg demolition of Real Madrid lined up to shake Prince William’s hand for the FA Cup final, and the only alteration should therefore come in goal, where Stefan Ortega will reluctantly hand the gloves back over to Ederson.

With no new contract agreed, Saturday’s game could very well be Gundogan’s Man City adieu, and the 32-year-old will don the armband for the Premier League champions 10 years after coming up short in the 2012-13 Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich.

Another goal for the indomitable Erling Braut Haaland would represent his 13th of the 2022-23 Champions League – hardly an unlucky number, as it would see him overtake Ruud van Nistelrooy for the most single-season Champions League goals for an English team – and despite failing to make the net ripple against Real Madrid, the Scandinavian sensation has never gone three successive games without a goal in Europe’s top tournament.

As for the Nerazzurri, Inter lost former Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan to a thigh injury in the second leg of his side’s semi-final success over AC Milan, but the Armenian playmaker is reportedly winning his battle to be fit for the final.

The same can be said for Argentine attacker Joaquin Correa, who picked up a calf issue against Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia final, although a spot on the bench will await the 28-year-old if he is given the green light to make the journey.

Indeed, Inzaghi appears to have settled on Martinez and Dzeko as his established strike pairing for crunch matches – meaning that misfiring Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku will also aim to provide impetus from the bench before he bids farewell for a second time – while Mkhitaryan may force Marcelo Brozovic out of the XI if he can prove his fitness.

Left-wing back Federico Dimarco was not even in the squad to meet Torino on the final matchday in Serie A due to muscular fatigue, but the Italian is expected to line up from the off here, and his duel with Walker down the flank promises to be a riveting watch indeed.

In what could be their final appearances in a Nerazzurri shirt, centre-back duo Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij – who were indispensable members of their 2020-21 Scudetto-winning team – are set to start on the bench, as Alessandro BastoniMatteo Darmian and Francesco Acerbi shield Andre Onana, who needs one more clean sheet to match Edouard Mendy‘s record of nine from 2020-21.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Akanji; Stones, Rodri; Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Mkhitaryan, Calhanoglu, Dimarco; Martinez, Dzeko


Head-to-head record

Incredibly, Saturday’s final will represent the maiden competitive showdown between Man City and Inter in any competition, with the two sides only locking horns in two friendly matches down the years.

A couple of months on from their 2010 Champions League final triumph, Inter put three past Man City without reply in the Pirelli Cup, where Victor Obinna and now-Fiorentina left-back Cristiano Biraghi were on target alongside a Joleon Lescott own goal.

One year later, the Citizens avenged that loss with their own 3-0 friendly win in Dublin – during which Dzeko netted against his current club alongside another former Nerazzurri marksman in Mario Balotelli.

We say: Manchester City 2-1 Inter Milan

With Man City winning the ball back higher up the field on average than any other Champions League team this season (47.2m from their own net), and Inter doing so closest to their goal (38.4m), a classic attack-versus-defence encounter may ensue in Istanbul.

The Nerazzurri’s counter-attacks can often prove devastating, though, and their recent purple patch in front of goal should also benefit their chances of breaching the Man City backline, but quelling Guardiola’s potent frontmen will be a different matter entirely.

Despite Inter’s previous rearguard solidity in Europe, Guardiola’s charges possess the attacking wherewithal to finally propel themselves to European stardom and join their formerly noisy neighbours Man United in the exclusive treble-winning club.

QUESTION: Can Inter Derail Pep’s Treble Dream or Should City win, it’ll be the first time in their history to do so, and the second time an English side triumphs in the last 5 years?


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