The Champions League final is set, and it has the feeling of a David vs. Goliath matchup as Premier League powerhouse Manchester City face off against Italian side Inter Milan in Europe’s title bout.
Man City completely smothered defending champions Real Madrid in the second leg of their semifinal, putting forth an absolutely breathless performance to overwhelm the most successful club in the history of the European competition.
Inter, meanwhile, are not considered to be of the same calibre, but are hitting their stride at the right time, rising above cross-town rivals AC Milan in their semifinal to reach this stage.
The Italians will know they’re matched up against the cream of the European crop, sitting third in the Serie A table, not even having yet secured Champions League play next season. There’s a foreboding sense about this match that they will need to produce a masterclass to emerge victorious.
Manchester City are coming off one of the most dominant performances you will ever see in a high-profile match of late-season Champions League caliber.
What Pep Guardiola engineered at the Etihad Stadium on May 17, a humbling of the defending champions, will be remembered for years.
Nobody in the world is in better form than this Premier League outfit, and while Inter have crafted some impressively gritty results in European competition this season, there’s nobody in the world who can match this City side at their best.
This, of course, assumes that City bring their best to Istanbul, where the atmosphere won’t be as favourable as it was in England on Wednesday. Inter, meanwhile, are admittedly in good form too, finally figuring out their inconsistencies domestically as the season comes to a close. Yet it’s quite simply impossible to bet against this Man City juggernaut.
Man City vs Inter Milan betting odds for Champions League final
With the Champions League final participants now set, the odds are helpful to see how both the oddsmakers and betting market see this match playing out.
Man City opened as massive favorites, given -250 odds to win the match outright in regulation and -650 to emerge victorious and lift the trophy. This is likely due to the manner in which City not only obliterated Real Madrid in the second leg of their semifinal, but their domestic form as well, en route to a likely Premier League title.
Inter, meanwhile, emerged out of the gates massive underdogs, slotted at +675 to win across 90 minutes and +375 to be named champions.
Odds updated as of Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
Man City win
(regulation) Inter win
(regulation) Both teams
to score Y / N Over / Under
2.5 goals Man City
lift trophy Inter
(USA) -250 +380 +675 -110 / -130 -155 / +110 -650 +375
(Canada) -294 +390 +681 -115 / -137 -161 / +117 — —
(UK) 4/9 7/2 6/1 5/6, 5/6 4/6, 11/10 1/5 10/3
(Australia) 1.52 4.00 6.40 1.87 / 1.85 1.80 / 1.95 1.22 3.80
(India) 1.35 4.90 7.90 1.93 / 1.81 1.66 / 2.22 1.19 4.60
Why Man City will win Champions League title in 2023
Incredible squad depth has led to exceptional health
One of the most impressive parts of Man City’s exceptional season has been their overall health. Hardly any key players have struggled with injury this season, and Pep Guardiola’s side is at full strength as the end of the campaign nears, with the exception of defender Nathan Ake, who is recovering from a minor problem.
Rodri has hardly seen a rest this season, playing over 4,000 minutes across all competitions, but the rest of the Man City squad has been given the occasional breather, and the team hasn’t lost a step thanks to its exceptional depth. Guardiola has been able to deploy his preferred starting lineup whenever needed, and yet he can trust those in rotation when there’s room to do so.
The likes of Julian Alvarez and Aymeric Laporte have earned over 2,300 and 1,700 minutes respectively, and even Rico Lewis has played over 1,000 minutes this season. Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and Jack Grealish have all rotated on the wing, and they have all delivered in moments and stretches.
With a powerful squad like Man City able to call upon every single starter at this stage in the season, it will be next to impossible to dethrone the favourites.
Erling Haaland the difference maker against Inter defenders
Erling Haaland was brought to Manchester City to win the Champions League. That much he’s already admitted publicly, and so he will be on task in the UCL final.
While the trio of Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, and Matteo Darmian did well to keep Olivier Giroud off the scoresheet for two legs in the semifinal, they don’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of world-class forwards like Haaland.
The Norwegian failed to find the back of the net against Real Madrid only thanks to Thibaut Courtois’ brilliance, and while Mike Maignan is a top goalkeeper, he will need a man-of-the-match performance just to keep the Man City striker out. That opens things up for the rest of the City goal scorers, of which they have many.
Haaland is eating defenders for lunch in European competition, winning 60 percent of his aerial duels in Champions League play this season. Both Acerbi and Bastoni are proficient in that department, but Haaland has so many ways of beating opponents, it’s hard to see them keeping up.
What Manchester City produced against Real Madrid in the second leg of their semifinal was utterly breathtaking. The City midfield was unbeatable, and their precise pressing kept Real Madrid totally unable to even get a dangerous touch on the ball let alone build forward with any kind of attacking presence.
Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, Rodri, and Ilkay Gundogan choked Real Madrid completely out of the match, from the opening whistle to the jubilant celebration at the end. Through 15 minutes, Madrid had just 14 total passes, and four Madrid players had yet to complete a single one.
Meanwhile, City used patience and precision to unlock the Madrid back line. Haaland forced two world-class saves out of Courtois before Silva’s double put City in front for good.
The Inter midfield is the strength of their side, but Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Henrikh Mkhitarayan won’t be able to breathe if City reproduce this performance. Oh, and if Inter decide to push the ball out wide, they’ll have to deal with Kyle Walker, who just blanketed Vinicius Jr for 180 minutes. – Sporting News