Competition: Premier League – Manchester City FC vs. Southampton FC
Venue: Etihad Stadium – Sunday, October 23 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)
Match Odds: Man City 1/2 – Draw 100/30 – Southampton 5/1
Pep Guardiola watched his City team get thumped 4-0 at Barcelona on Wednesday, with Claudio Bravo’s sending off doing little to help his team’s chances at the Nou Camp.
That defeat means City have failed to win any of their last four games in all competitions. They missed two penalties in last week’s home draw with Everton and need to turn their fortunes around to avoid falling off the top of the table.
The visit of Southampton presents a tough test for City but they have a squad strong enough to beat anyone on their day, and so an emphatic response is needed after the result in Barca.
The Saints lost 1-0 at Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday but do come into this game in very strong domestic form, having won three of their last four in the Premier League.
Claude Puel is starting to get his ideas across to the players and they have managed to only concede one goal in their last four league outings.
After losing their first two away games of the season, Southampton have now kept back-to-back clean sheets on the road but are facing a tough task in trying to shutout a City attack that has scored the joint-most goals in the top flight after eight games.
Southampton won the most recent meeting between these sides 4-2 back in May, with Kelechi Iheanacho’s brace outdone by Sadio Mane’s hat-trick for the Saints.
More goals could be on the cards here, with both sides looking for points in what should be an entertaining contest.
Pep Guardiola may be without both of his right-backs for the visit of Southampton on Sunday. Bacary Sagna is definitely out, while Zabaleta is a doubt. If they are both absent, he could change to a three-man defensive setup, as he did in last week’s draw with Everton. Yaya Toure is still suspended by the club and won’t feature, while Fabian Delph is not yet fit enough to start.
Southampton are looking a little light in attack ahead of Sunday’s game after Shane Long picked up an injury in the 1-0 loss at Inter Milan on Thursday. Nathan Redmond is a doubt, along with Ryan Bertrand and Matt Targett, while Cedric Soares, Jeremy Pied and Florin Gardos are all definitely sidelined. Exciting winger Sofiane Boufal is expected to make his full debut.
Manchester City’s last five: W/W/W/L/D
Southampton’s last five: L/W/W/D/W
Key Stat: Since the turn of the year, Southampton (51) have collected two more points than Manchester City have in the Premier League (49).
Key Player: Sergio Aguero – It’s no secret that when Aguero is on form, Manchester City are far more lethal side. The Argentine striker started Wednesday’s game at Barcelona on the bench but should be raring to go from the off here.
Manchester City 2-1 Southampton – This is another tough game for City to deal with, especially off the back of Wednesday’s result. They are stronger than the Saints on paper and Guardiola will be trying to make sure everyone performs to their highest levels to get back on the right side of the scoreline here. The Saints will fancy their chances but ultimately City need to be winning games like this if they are going to lift the title in May.