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Prediction: Manchester City vs Southampton


Verdict: Home win & both teams to score

Best Odds: 21/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

After the embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Barcelona extended their winless run to four games, Manchester City will be in desperate need of a morale-boosting win when they face Southampton. The Saints, on the other hand, saw their seven-match unbeaten streak come to an end in midweek, but they, nonetheless, head into the high-profile game in much better mood than the opposition.

Manchester City

Manchester City enjoyed a tremendous start to the current season as new manager Pep Guardiola quickly managed to improve the team, and a very successful campaign appeared on the cards after ten straight victories in all competitions. However, the Citizens have been going through a very rough patch of late, failing to win any of their last four games on all fronts, and it is now that the Catalan coach needs to prove he is the right man for the job. Back to back Premier League setbacks against Spurs and Everton allowed their title rivals to close the gap behind the current leaders, but it was the 4-0 loss to Barcelona in midweek that resounded the most in the media. The pundits were quick to point out that Man City were no match for the Catalans and that Claudio Bravo was nowhere near as good enough as their darling Joe Hart, but this is a definitely a very harsh treatment of both Pep Guardiola and his number one shot-stopper. The reality is that the Citizens fared pretty well with 11 men on the pitch, creating some very good opportunities to score in the first period, before conceding three goals after the Chilean was sent off. Bravo did commit another costly mistake, but Guardiola was right to stand by his player as we still believe that the goalkeeper’s impressive technical skills will be quite beneficial to team’s style of play. And seeing that team’s latest performances were not that bad at all, we fully expect them to return to winning ways this weekend.

Team News

Claudio Bravo will continue in goal in spite of the costly error at Camp Nou, while Sergio Aguero will be recalled to the starting line-up.

There have been no fresh selection worries for manager Pep Guardiola, but the likes of Bacary Sagna and Fabian Delph remain in the infirmary.

Southampton

Southampton have been on a constant rise over the last few years and it is really remarkable how the club manage to cope with regular departures of star players. In addition to manager Ronald Koeman, the likes of Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama all left in the summer, but new boss Claude Puel has succeeded in quickly rebuilding the squad. The Frenchman experienced some problems in the early days of his career at St Mary’s, but his side have since showed remarkable improvement, having embarked on a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions. The 4-3-1-2 formation has worked like a charm, with Dusan Tadic pulling the strings in midfield and revived Charlie Austin doing well to rediscover his scoring boots. The Saints failed to extend the impressive run as they were beaten by Inter Milan in Europa League, but they are unlikely to be too downhearted by the result, especially seeing that Claude Puel had rested some of his starters at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. But, even if Southampton have done pretty well on domestic stage of late, this is probably not the best time to be facing wounded Manchester City and we don’t think the Saints can get something from this clash.

Team News

Jose Fonte, Charlie Austin, Nathan Redmond and Steven Davis should all be recalled after they were rested in midweek, but Claude Puel faces serious problems at the back.

With the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Cedric Soares, Matt Targett and Jeremy Pied all out injured, Cuco Martina and Maya Yoshida should start in full-back positions.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Saints have important missings at the back
  • Man City are at full strength
  • Man City won last six home games vs Southampton
  • Only one of those was recorded by a single goal margin
  • Both teams scored in eight of their last ten meetings

Conclusion

We cannot agree with the assessment that Manchester City have been utterly disappointing of late and their impressive home form and excellent record against the Saints are enough to suggest the Citizens will return to winning ways. But, with Southampton high on confidence and very dangerous up front, we also expect to see goals galore at Etihad Stadium.

Verdict: Home win & both teams to score

Best Odds: 21/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

Fri 21 Oct, 2016
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