Champions League Final: Can City Win It At Last?

2023 UEFA Champions League final

As we reach the closing stages of the season, the major European leagues are now drawing to a close. Manchester City look set to be crowned champions in England, Napoli have claimed the title in Serie A, Barcelona have run away with it in Spain, PSG are six points clear in France, whilst in Germany, we look set to be in for a thrilling conclusion as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund battle to the line.

In addition to the domestic action, we now also know the names of the participants in the biggest club game of the season, with Manchester City and Inter Milan having successfully navigated their way to the Champions League Final – this year taking place in Istanbul on Saturday 10th June. Here we take a look ahead to the showpiece event, using data presented by, to assess the credentials of the two sides.

Past Performance

Manchester City

It is only in relatively recent times that Manchester City have become a truly global force in the game. It is, therefore, not too surprising to learn that they have never won this competition – either in its current format or in its previous guise as the European Cup.

The closest City came was when making the 2019/20 final in Porto, when strongly fancied to see off fellow Premier League side Chelsea. In the end, Pep Guardiola’s men couldn’t find a way through the Blues rear-guard, with a Kai Havertz strike being enough to take the prize back to Stamford Bridge.

Inter Milan

For the Nerazurri, this will also be their second appearance in a Champions League Final - the first having come when facing off with Bayern Munich in Madrid in 2009/10. Guided by José Mourinho, Inter employed a counter-attacking style to good effect that day, ultimately winning 2-0 thanks to two strikes from Diego Milito. Given City’s possession-heavy style, the Italian side may be forced to employ similar tactics again here.

In addition to that win in 2009/10, Inter also made four European Cup Finals, lifting the trophy in 1963/64 and 1964/65. With three wins in total, they are joint seventh in the all-time list of clubs, alongside Manchester United.

Route to the Final

Manchester City

City weren’t quite perfect in the Group Stage, but they weren’t too far off it - comfortably topping a section containing Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, and Copenhagen. Winning all three home games, their only dropped points came courtesy of goalless draws in Dortmund and Copenhagen.

Whilst the Group phase was relatively straightforward, City faced a tricky-looking draw in the knockout stages. It has been their scintillating home form which has seen them come this far. The away legs against RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid all ended in a 1-1 draw, but City won the home games by a combined score of 14-0 – including a 4-0 thumping of Real in the semis. Will they prove so effective on neutral ground?

Inter Milan

Inter were handed a nightmare draw in Group C alongside Bayern Munich and Barcelona, with the overmatched Viktoria Plzen making up the numbers. Bayern raced through with six wins from six, but Inter did enough to take the second spot – the key results being a 1-0 win over Barcelona at the San Siro, and a thrilling 3-3 draw at Camp Nou.

It was then an all-Portuguese route to the semis for Inter, with Simone Inzaghe’s men winning the defensive battle with Porto to come through 1-0 on aggregate, before blasting past Benfica 5-3. Next came a firecracker against huge rivals AC Milan, with Inter winning both fiery encounters to come through relatively comfortably 3-0 on aggregate.

Squad Value

Manchester City - €1.05bn

City clearly come out ahead in this category, but that should come as no shock, with the club famously breaking through the €1bn euro ceiling earlier in the season. Headline acts include the €110m rated Phil Foden, and Erling Haaland, who is valued at €170m – an amount which may even be on the conservative side given his current form.

Inter Milan - €534.45m

Inter’s squad may be valued at only around half that of City but is certainly not without its star attractions. €80m rated Lautaro Martinez tops the pile and continues to be a reliable source of goals, whilst €70m man Nicolo Barrela may become one of the key players in the final if able to disrupt the City midfield.

Key Stats

2023 UEFA Champions League final stats

Manchester City Inter Milan Average Goals For 2.63 1.89 Average Goals Against 0.89 1.06 Avg xG Goals For 2.29 1.94 Avg xG Goals Against 0.84 0.92 Average Possession 65.20% 56.60%

The above table details the performances of the two sides in the Premier League and Serie A respectively. A clean sweep for Manchester City here, with the English champions-elect boasting better offensive and defensive stats than Inter, who are currently sitting third in Serie A.

Overall, Inter have performed broadly in line with their xG projections, as have City on the defensive side of the game. The major discrepancy comes in the attacking stats, where City have scored an average of 0.34 goals per game more than the xG suggests. We suspect that there is one big reason for that, and he goes by the name of Erling Braut Haaland. The man signed to win the Champions League gets to fulfil his date with destiny here, in a game where everything - other than the historical performance of the sides – suggests that City ought to be strongly favoured.

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