Thursday, November 15, 2018

Prediction: Manchester City vs Southampton

Verdict: Manchester City win to nil

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

Booking their spot in the quarter-finals of this years EFL Cup, Manchester City will return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they host a struggling Southampton side at the Etihad.

Manchester City

Starting with Pep Guardiola’s defending Premier League champions, coming off the back of another very professional showing in their 2-0 win over Fulham in the EFL Cup, many have Manchester City to be the leading contender to defend their crown. Thanks to Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Saturday, a win for the Sky Blues will see them take a two-point lead at the top of the table. Along with now holding the best-attacking stats in the Premier League, it will be City’s recent defensive record that is most impressing the former Barcelona boss. Conceding just three domestic goals in their opening 11 top flight games, Sunday’s hosts have now gone five games across all competitions without shipping a single goal in return. Also yet to concede a domestic goal since the 1st of September, Manchester City will also be boosted by their very impressive record against the Saints. Guardiola’s side have won seven of their last nine Premier League meetings with Southampton.

Team News

Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne will be out for five to six weeks with knee ligament damage sustained in Thursday’s Carabao Cup win against Fulham.

Ilkay Gundogan has returned to training following a hamstring injury but is a doubt while Nicolas Otamendi is out with a tendon problem.

Southampton

As for the visitors, while Southampton may have avoided the drop on the final game of last season, it has been another worrying start for Mark Hughes’ side. Coming off the back of a pair of lacklustre 0-0 draws with Bournemouth and Newcastle, the Saints have now failed to win any of their last six Premier League outings, a run stemming back to September 1st. Now sat 16th in the table and with just a two-point buffer over the relegation zone, it will be their form in the final third that will be the biggest concern to Hughes. Failing to now score in their last five Premier League matches, only Huddersfield have scored less goals in the league than Saints this season with six goals in their opening 10 games. They could set an outright club record of six consecutive top-flight games without scoring. With many tipping the South Coast club to find themselves at the heart of another relegation battle come the end of the season, Southampton have won just three of their 18 league games under the former Stoke boss.

Team News

Southampton have a fully-fit squad to choose from for the trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Midfielder Pierre Hojbjerg is available having recovered from a recent illness.

Key Factors to Consider

  • City have won seven of their last nine Premier League meetings with Southampton, drawing one and losing one with an aggregate scoreline of 22-9.
  • Saints are winless in their last eight visits in all competitions at the Etihad Stadium, drawing one and losing seven.
  • Only Liverpool (one) have conceded fewer home league goals than City’s tally of two this season.
  • They are looking to keep seven consecutive league clean sheets for the first time.
  • Saints are without a win in their last six league matches, drawing three and losing three.

Conclusion

On paper, Manchester City will see this is a golden opportunity to extend their advantage at the top of the Premier League table. Given the Sky Blues’ stellar defensive record, particularly at the Etihad, it is hard to see the defending champions suffering a major upset on Sunday. Now going over 550 minutes without conceding a top flight goal, we’re backing Guardiola’s side to come away with another convincing win.

Verdict: Manchester City win to nil

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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