Former Chelsea star Joe Cole insists he is “more confident” of a win for the Blues against Manchester City after Pep Guardiola’s team selection.
The City boss has left Fernandinho and Rodri out of his starting XI to face Chelsea in the Champions League final this evening, much to the surprise of the BT Sport pundits Rio Ferdinand, Cole and former Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott.
Instead, he has opted to play Raheem Sterling in a more attack-minded selection, which has surprised some fans and pundits alike.
And Cole has said he thinks Guardiola may be guilty of overthinking, adding that he cannot believe that he has not matched up with Thomas Tuchel’s selection in midfield.
“That’s stunning. You’d think, out of respect of Chelsea’s attacking threat, you’d have Rodri or Fernandinho in there, but that says to me, he thinks they’ll dominate possession tonight,” he said, speaking on BT Sport.
“That is a surprise to me, no Fernandinho, I thought he’d feature.
“I can understand him playing [Raheem] Sterling, I think he might play him through the middle, but Pep [Guardiola] has a history of this, where he changes his team up and it’s not worked.
“His players will know that and it might put a bit of doubt, it’s an interesting one, for sure.”
It was a decision that has had an effect on Lescott’s hopes of City winning the trophy.
“I thought we’d see Rodri, I thought he’d match up with [N’Golo] Kante, but the fact that he’s gone for four ball-playing midfielders, it’s made me more nervous,” he said
“He’s obviously recognised something in Chelsea that he feels this is the team to get the job done, hopefully that is the case, but I was expecting to see a more defensive-minded midfielder.”
Meanwhile, Ferdinand was also surprised to see Guardiola line his side up with no defensive midfielder.
“Wow. No holding player, this is Pep changing things in a game like this again,” he said.
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“He’s done it every time they’ve gone out, he’s tinkered with his team, and he’s done it again today. Pop, pop, pop all game.
“I just looked at the numbers there and six games they’ve played this season and just one game where both Fernandinho and Rodri have not played and that was a dead rubber against Olympiacos in the Champions League,” he said..
“So, a huge, huge change, but one that says and screams we’re going to dominate possession if you’re in a Manchester City shirt.”