14 May 2021

Chelsea v Barcelona: Talking points ahead of Women’s Champions League final

14 May 2021

Chelsea take on Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League final in Gothenburg on Sunday.

The Blues are making their debut appearance in the final of the competition as Emma Hayes’ side continue their bid for a quadruple.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points surrounding the contest at Gamla Ullevi.

The third of four?

Chelsea secured the first two pieces of silverware in a potential four-trophy haul by completing successful defences of the League Cup in March and the Women’s Super League title last weekend. Four days after Sunday’s match, they then host Everton in the fifth round of the FA Cup, the final of which is scheduled for December. They are just the second English outfit to reach the Women’s Champions League final – the first was Arsenal in 2007 when they won the competition, then known as the UEFA Women’s Cup, as part of a quadruple.

The first of two

Sunday is also match one of an historic double-header for Chelsea, who will hope success for Hayes’ players will subsequently be replicated when Thomas Tuchel’s side face Manchester City in the men’s final on May 29. No club have previously reached the finals of the women’s and men’s Champions League in the same season.

Hayes’ breakthrough

Emma Hayes (centre) has been Chelsea manager since 2012 (John Walton/PA). (PA Wire)

Hayes will become the first female to manage a side in the final of the competition since 2009, the year it was rebranded as the Women’s Champions League. The 44-year-old was assistant at Arsenal, under boss Vic Akers, when they pulled off their 2007 triumph. She went on to become Chelsea boss in 2012, and her tenure – the honours of which include four WSL titles and two FA Cups – has seen runs to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018 and 2019 before the team went one better this term.

Formidable foes

Barcelona, finalists for a second time having finished as runners-up in 2019, have had a road to Gothenburg that included getting the better of Manchester City in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, their Spanish league record this term shows 26 wins from as many games, with 128 goals scored along the way and only five conceded. Certainly Lluis Cortes’ side, victors over Paris St Germain in the semi-finals, look capable of causing problems for a Chelsea team who defeated Wolfsburg and then Bayern Munich in the last two rounds.

No Lyon

Something eye-catching about Sunday’s contest relates to who it does not feature – Lyon, the winners for each of the last five years, and finalists nine times in the last 11 (they have won the competition seven times in total). They were eliminated in the quarter-finals by PSG, and boss Jean-Luc Vasseur has subsequently been replaced by Sonia Bompastor. Wolfsburg are also noteworthy absentees, after five finals and two wins from 2012-13 onwards. Chelsea overcame the German outfit this season having previously been knocked out by them in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Lyon ended the Blues’ run in 2019.

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