Sunday, August 20, 2017

Prediction: Southampton vs Manchester City

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 8/13

Bookmaker:Bet 365

Relieved Southampton host Manchester City at St Mary’s on Saturday evening, knowing they should be playing top-flight football next season having already hit the 40 point safety net. However, Pep Guardiola’s men are desperate to further cement their position in the top-four and nothing less than a victory will do in this Premier League clash.

Southampton

Claude Puel’s team have been enjoying a decent run of form recently, picking up seven points from their last three games and only conceding one goal in the process. The Saints gained a 1-0 victory away at West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, which is impressive when you consider the Baggies had only lost three times prior to the clash at the Hawthorns. The result took them 12 points clear of third from bottom Swansea City with six games left, and barring a miracle, they should be safe for another season of the Premier League. Even though Southampton were probably not expected to do any better than they have done under Puel, they will still be hoping they can pip West Brom to eighth spot, which is no mean feat. However, they do face some cruel fixtures, with Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United all to come within the next month. The Saints will want to put on a show for their fans between now and the end of the season and it wouldn’t be surprise if they managed to shock a few of the big-guns, starting with Manchester City on Saturday.

Team News

Manolo Gabbiadini and Sofiane Boufal could return for the match.

Virgil Van Dijk remains an absentee.

Manchester City

Manchester City will be nervously looking over their shoulder at their rivals Manchester United, who are four points behind them in fifth spot, but with a game in hand. Pep Guardiola’s title dreams look dead and buried this season; however, if he also fails to make Champions League qualification then he will be seen as a massive disappointment in his first year in England. City have only won one of their last four Premier League home games and now isn’t the time to be on an inconsistent run of form with the season so close to its end. There still remains a doubt over the Citizens defensive frailties, having conceded nine goals in their last five games in all competitions, and Southampton will be optimistic they can exploit that. The Saints have scored 14 times in seven games and it seems they have players who can finish in every position. This will be a tough game for City and one that could go a long way in deciding the outcome of their season.

Team News

Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi both need to prove their fitness after they missed last week’s clash with Hull City.

Leroy Sane is expected to be fit, whilst Gabriel Jesus could make an earlier than anticipated comeback on the bench.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Southampton are undefeated in their last two games against Manchester City (W1 D1)
  • Only against Everton (312) does Sergio Aguero have a worst goals to minutes ratio than he does versus Southampton (264)
  • City last failed to score against the Saints back in October 2004, having netted in 11 meetings since
  • Dusan Tadic has had a say in five goals in his last six appearances (one goal, four assists)
  • The Citizens goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has conceded from each of his last seven shots faced in the Premier League

Conclusion

This is a must-win game for Manchester City if they wish to maintain their hopes of a top-four finish this season. However, the Saints have the ability to make like tough for Guardiola’s side, especially if Gabbiadini is passed fit. Southampton have the freedom to enjoy their football now they are safe from relegation and games involving City always seem to be full of goals.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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