Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Southampton 2-0 Manchester City: Main Talking Points As Pep Guardiola’s Side Suffer A Stunning EFL Cup Exit

Tom Dunstan in Editorial 12 Jan 2023

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Despite smelling the chance to cruise their way to the semi-finals of this season’s EFL Cup, Manchester City put in a nightmare display away at Premier League strugglers Southampton.

Putting in a toothless performance on the south coast and failing to find any kind of fluidity, Pep Guardiola’s men were eventually hit with a shocking 2-0 loss on Wednesday night.

Slumping to a remarkable 2-0 deficit heading into the half-time break, goals from Sékou Mara and Moussa Djenepo helped the Saints pick up a famous victory at St. Mary’s.

Handing Guardiola his first-ever domestic quarter-final defeat and picking up a perfect morale boost following last weekend’s FA Cup success, Southampton really couldn’t have dreamt of a more perfect display against the defending English champions.

In what was a real showdown between two sides who find themselves battling it out at opposite ends of the Premier League table, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Wednesday’s showdown.

Lift off for Southampton?

While Southampton might have opened Nathan Jones’ tenure at St. Mary’s with four Premier League defeats on the spin, the Saints will be hugely excited by what has been a real boost over the past week.

Although Wednesday’s hosts might still be waiting to get their first top-flight point on the board since appointing the former Luton boss, they will be looking to use their recent flurry as a platform to build on.

Coming from behind away at fellow Premier League outfit Crystal Palace last weekend as they extended on their FA Cup adventure thanks to a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park, Southampton have now clinched back-to-back domestic wins for the first time in 11 months.

Although Jones’ side might still find themselves sat rock-bottom of the Premier League table, they have certainly breathed life back into their charge for survival.

Shocking almost everyone across Europe in midweek after booking their EFL Cup semi-final ticket, Southampton now face what is a crucial showdown at Goodison Park this weekend.

In what is rightfully billed as a Premier League six-pointer, Jones’ resurging squad will be next seen on Saturday afternoon when they travel to fellow strugglers Everton.

A south coast nightmare for City

Although Southampton might deserve all of the plaudits following their monumental display on Wednesday night, it will be Manchester City who steals most of the headlines.

While Guardiola’s superstars might have been tipped as a landslide pick on the south coast, the former Barcelona boss would have been concerned by a downbeat display at St. Mary’s.

Despite extending on their FA Cup adventure last weekend thanks to a thumping 4-0 romp at home against fellow Premier League giants Chelsea, City failed to lay any kind of blow here.

Struggling to find any kind of clinical edge with attacking talisman Erling Haaland watching on from the bench, Wednesday’s display will arguably rank among their worst in recent memory.

Missing out on what was billed as a golden chance in midweek, fans around the Etihad could be worried by their side’s attacking struggles outside of Manchester.

In fact, along with drawing a blank on Wednesday night, the defending Premier League champions have scored more than a single strike in just one of their previous seven away fixtures across all competitions.

All eyes fall on Old Trafford

Watching their post-World Cup unbeaten run come to a shocking end on Wednesday night, Manchester City will be desperate to prove that was nothing more than a minor blip.

However, while Southampton might face a relegation six-pointer at the foot of the Premier League table this weekend, Guardiola’s side have their own heavyweight battle on their hands.

Currently sat five points adrift of a high-flying Arsenal and finding a route to the top of the table, the Sky Blues will make the trip to Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime knowing that they must lay down a marker.

However, while City might have breezed their way to that action-packed 6-3 victory when the two sides last met on October 2nd at the Etihad, Guardiola will know that his side face a real challenge across Manchester.

Watching United book their EFL Cup semi-final spot on Tuesday night following a 3-0 victory at home against League One outfit Charlton, the Red Devils have now won each of their six post-World Cup appearances.

Match Report

Southampton: Banzunu, Lyanco, Caleta-Car, Salisu, Walker-Peters, Lavia, Diallo, Djenepo, Ward-Prowse, A. Armstrong, Mara

Subs: Adams, Orsic, Elyounoussi, Perraud

Manchester City: Ortega, Cancelo, Walker, Laporte, Gomez, Gundogan, Phillips, Palmer, Foden, Alvarez, Grealish

Subs: Akanji, De Bruyne, Rodri, Haaland, Ake

Goals: Mara (23′), Djenepo (28′)

Yellow Cards: Lavia, Diallo

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Paul Tierney

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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