PalmeirasFIFA Club World CupVS
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The Club World Cup final on Saturday is all set, and there’s Premier League representation in the form of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
After a sloppy few months, the Blues have significantly dropped out of domestic title contention as things stand, so this is a good opportunity for them to secure some silverware for the campaign.
Their opponents are Brazilian side Palmeiras. They won the Copa Libertadores for the second season running last year, and they’ll be keen to get their hands on this trophy after finishing fourth in the competition last term.
Read on for our expert football betting tips for the game.
Three of the last four Club World Cup finals have been settled by just one goal. These are two solid sides going up against each other, so it’s unlikely we'll see too much action on the goals front.
Chelsea may have won their last three, but they have stuttered a bit in the last few weeks. They have the quality edge, though, so in what could be a tight game, that’ll make all the difference.
In their last seven games, Palmeiras have conceded just one goal. They haven’t faced a side with the strength of the Blues in that time, though. That said, given their firm foundations, we don’t see them being blown away by their Premier League opponents, albeit we do see Thomas Tuchel’s side just having enough to get the victory. So, all things considered, Chelsea To Win By One Goal is the selection, and that’s available at odds of 12/5 Sportnation.
Chelsea competed in this competition for the first time in 2012. They lost to Brazilian opposition that day as Corinthians beat them by a goal to nil.
Kai Havertz paid a good chunk of his £70m transfer fee back in May of last year when he slotted home the winner in the Champions League final against Manchester City. Winners of Europe’s top club tournament get automatic progress to the semi-finals of the Club World Cup.
In that round, Chelsea saw off Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, beating them 1-0. Romelu Lukaku got the only goal of the game in the 31st minute, after he powered home from close range. The Blues dominated proceedings for the most part, but a failure to take their chances meant they didn’t extend their lead.
It didn’t matter in the end as they held firm at the back and repelled some late Al Hilal pressure.
Reece James still isn’t quite ready to return for this one but is progressing well from a hamstring injury. A late decision will be made on whether African Cup of Nations winner Edouard Mendy will replace Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal.
The Brazilian football season is structured differently to most European ones, so Palmeiras finished their main league campaign in December of last year, finishing 3rd in the Brazilian Serie A table.
They’ve recently been in action still, though, in the Paulista Serie A1 - a football league in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. They’ve won three of their four games in that competition so far this year.
Like Chelsea, Palmeiras went straight into the semi-finals of this tournament due to their Copa Libertadores success last season.
They faced Egyptian club Al Ahly, winning 2-0. Palmeiras midfielder Dudu set up the first with a delightful through ball to Raphael Veiga, who slotted home. Dudu sealed the victory in style in the second half. After some fluent build-up play, he hit the back of the net with a powerful right-footed strike.
Abel Ferreira’s men are a technical and well organised side, so they’ll certainly prove a stern test for Chelsea.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two sides.
This year’s final will be played at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. It’s the home ground of UAE Pro League football club Al Jazira Club, and holds a maximum of 37,500 fans.
Over the last few decades, the stadium has undergone several expansions - back in 2006 it only held 15,000. It‘s an ultra-modern, air-conditioned arena which is very helpful for sport events, given the humid conditions in the country.
Considering the style of both teams, it should be a relatively tight affair. Finals tend to be close and a bit cagey at the best of times, but with the pair having solid backlines, it could come down to the battle in midfield.
Chelsea will look to control it - with at least one of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic likely to start - and their extra class should prove key as they aim to become the third English side to win the Club World Cup trophy.