6th December 2013
Southampton desperately need to end their three-match losing run in order to revive their bid for European positions, but the problem is the Saints face another title contenders, albeit this time at their St Mary’s. Meanwhile, Manchester City are on a four-match winning streak and they are pretty fortunate to be facing Southampton at this point in time.
Following some impressive displays under Mauricio Pochettino last term, Southampton were tipped to continue their uptrend in fortunes, but nobody could predict such a strong start to the league campaign. At one point, the Saints even looked like genuine top 4 contenders, although they have since suffered a serious dip in form. And while they showed some promise in back to back defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea, those two games showed the Saints still lack that cutting edge needed to stun league’s best sides. However, it was the midweek home defeat to Aston Villa that acted as a serious blow to the players’ confidence and it is fair to say Southampton find themselves in a very difficult situation ahead of the clash with revived Manchester City. There are no doubts the hosts have got plenty of attacking potential to hurt their more illustrious opponents, especially in an open game, but I am afraid their poor run of form is set to continue. On top of that, Mauricio Pochettino faces a real selection headache, with Victor Wanyama and Nathaniel Clyne out injured and Jose Fonte doubtful.
Manchester City may have impressed at their Etihad, winning all seven Premier League fixtures there, scoring 29 and conceding mere 2 goals in the process, but their displays on the road have been nothing short of disappointing. Four defeats in first six away fixtures would have been considered a poor result even for a mid table side, let alone title contenders although the Citizens did managed to end the poor run on the travels with a 3-2 triumph over West Brom. Considering that was City’s fourth straight victory in all competitions, we can safely say they have returned to the right track, although a win at St Mary’s would certainly be a good testament to their title ambitions. And with Samir Nasri back to his best, David Silva does not seem to be sorely missed, although Manuel Pellegrini was certainly delighted to hear that the Spaniard is expected to return into action next week. Given that captain Vincent Kompany has finally returned into action following a lengthy injury lay-off, City look a good bet to make it five on the bounce.
Southampton may not be on top of their game at the moment, but they certainly have got enough firepower to hurt City’s shaky defence. Meanwhile, the Citizens are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment, and having scored at least three goals in each of their last four fixtures, they should play their part in making this a highly entertaining encounter.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 31/40