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The Champions League final is around the corner as Manchester City and Inter will meet in Istanbul for the greatest prize in European sports. City has never won the Champions League while Inter last hoisted the prestigious trophy in 2010 defeating Bayern Munich. Inter has been one of the hottest teams in soccer as of late but stopping Manchester City on their quest to win a treble will be quite a tall task. 

Looking at the tactical questions ahead for Pep Guardiola and Simone Inzaghi shows just how interesting of a chess match this will be with Inter's defense trying to matchup with a City attack that is among the best to grace the game of soccer. But looking ahead, what does each team need to do to ensure victory?

How to watch and odds

Date: Saturday, June 10 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Where: Atatürk Olympic Stadium -- Istanbul, Turkey
TV: CBS | Live Stream: Paramount+
Caesars Sportsbook odds: Man City -225; Draw +350; Inter +575

Inter can win if they...

1. Control the midfield

City are a team that can stop you no matter what you try to do, so the best way to slow them down is by matching up in midfield. Inter are a team that can do that due to their balanced midfield and organized defense. Being able to slot in Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic, and Hakan Calhanoglu, Inzaghi has quite a crew of midfielders, and it's one that will only get deeper if Henrikh Mkhitaryan is available for the match. 

Each midfielder brings different skills to the table but they're also not afraid to play defense and sacrifice attacking numbers for the sake of the team. Things like this are critical to slow down City's attack as Guardiola has a midfielder for every situation and there's no way to truly stop them all. If a team is focusing on Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan is here to score a brace and Rodri can hit rockets from outside the box if he's forgotten about and that's why awareness is key. Being smart with possession and also pressing when needed, is where the game will be won or lost.

2. Andre Onana stands tall

Since no team can truly stop City, what will be important for Inter is what they do when City is able to break down their defense. That's where Onana shines under pressure for this team. Onana has eight clean sheets in Champions League play so far over 1080 minutes behind 44 saves. Conceding less than a goal per game, 25 of those saves have come from shots taken inside the box which is the second-highest number behind only Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid. These saves in the box show that when teams do slip in behind Inter, Onana has their back allowing the defense to be more aggressive because they have faith in their keeper keeping things in order.


These are reasons why Onana took over for long-standing keeper Samir Handanovic during the season despite the latter being the club captain. Onana will need to be on his game and then some against Manchester City but based on how the season has gone, that's expected.

3. Get Romelu Lukaku involved

The biggest decision for Inzaghi is who starts at striker out of Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko. While both can link up well with Lautaro Martinez, they bring different things to the match. Dzeko's power and ability on corner kicks can be useful in matches but City doesn't allow the ball in the air much where Inter can utilize him to his full abilities. Lukaku, while he had a slow start to his Inter return, has been integral to the club as of late scoring and assisting key goals for the team. 


With his confidence and all-around game right now, Lukaku forces City to step up and defend Inter differently which creates space for Martinez to work into. With the strength of the midfielders, if there's space to exploit, attackers will be found and Lukaku helps that happen. After Onana, he's one of the biggest x-factors in this game.

Manchester City can win if they...

1. Keep things simple

Generally, the only team that can beat Manchester City is themselves which is why Guardiaola's lineup decisions are always under a microscope. City has the best collection of talent in the world but if they're put in unfamiliar spots in a game of this magnitude, there's always a chance that the team can overthink things and make a critical mistake. If Nathan Ake is healthy, Guardiola's lineup can be written in Sharpie as: Ederson, Ake, Dias, Akanji, Stones, Rodri, Gundogan, de Bruyne, Grealish, Silva, Haaland.

That's the lineup that got the team here and it's the same one that can also get them over the line for the Champions League trophy. There are so many options of ways that City can set up to defeat a team when they come out like this and despite Inter being soundly setup, they'd get pulled apart if City are at their best.

2. Haaland runs the show

Goalscoring is great but Haaland's presence is even better. His runs open space for the rest of the team and he's not a selfish striker at all. From heading the ball over defenders, curling devastating shots into the box, and laying off for his teammates, he has it all. Haaland has scored 52 goals and assisted nine more in all competitions and the scary thing is that he could've scored more goals if he wanted to.

Haaland is dangerman in this game and Inter has to devote quite a large portion of the team defense to stopping him. If they don't, Haaland will go and score a hat trick which is why there's truly no way to defend City. Stop the midfield and you still have to make sure that the Norwegian doesn't get.

3. Ederson doesn't hurt himself

Back to City being the only team that can beat City is that Ederson is the only person who can beat Ederson. A keeper who can make flawless passes out of the back and big time saves when needed, Ederson can sometimes get caught out trying to do too much. From holding the ball and doing a flashy move instead of just clearing things or just falling asleep while City are in possession of the ball and missing the one save that he's asked to make per game.

During the Champions League final, Ederson has to be locked in for all 90 mintues which should seem like a simple thing but something that hasn't happened at times this season. Bring the best to Istanbul and it's hard to see a situation where Manchester City doesn't leave with a victory.