Date: Sunday, 23rd October 2016
Time: 13.30 GMT
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Sunday afternoon sees Manchester City vs Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. After a storming start to the season, Pep Guardiola has seen his side stumble in recent weeks. Southampton, on the other hand, are on quite an impressive run of form and may well fancy their chances.
This same fixture last term saw City comfortably win 3-1, thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Fabian Delph and Aleksandar Kolarov. The Saints got their own back in return fixture in May, however, winning 4-2 thanks largely to a Sadio Mané hat trick.
After an impressive opening few weeks of the season, City have failed to win in their last three matches. Prior to the 4-0 defeat by Barcelona, they drew 1-1 at home to Everton last weekend. Before the international break, Tottenham comfortably defeated Guardiola’s men 2-0 at White Hart Lane. City are currently level with Arsenal on 19 points, topping the Premier League table on goal difference.
Southampton have won three of their last five fixtures, including a 3-0 victory over West Ham at the Olympic Stadium. The only blot in their copybook is the 1-0 Europa League defeat to Inter in the San Siro on Thursday. The Saints are clearly the form team going into this fixture, but are not classed as favourites. They sit in 8th place in the table, two points behind Manchester United.
Team News – City
Guardiola dropped both club captain Vincent Kompany and star striker Sergio Agüero from the team against Barcelona. Kompany did not even travel with the rest of the squad. Agüero’s absence has raised questions about his future at the Etihad, but he should return on Sunday.
City have a right back crisis ahead of this game. Pablo Zabaleta will definitely miss out against Southampton, to add to the absence of Bacary Sagna. Gaël Clichy may asked to switch flanks to cover.
Likely Line-up: Bravo, Clichy, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Gündoğan, Silva, De Bruyne, Agüero, Sterling.
Team News – Southampton
The only confirmed absentee ahead of Sunday is Shane Long. The striker suffered hamstring injury against Inter, and it is unconfirmed how long he will be out for. He is likely to be replaced by Nathan Redmond, who was rested in midweek.
Cédric Soares, Ryan Bertrand and Matt Targett also missed the trip to Milan as a precaution. They will all face late fitness tests, but should be available for selection. Charlie Austin is the Saints’ top scorer with four goals this season, and should partner Redmond in attack.
Likely Line-up: Forster, Soares, Van Dijk, Fonte, Targett, Romeu, Clasie, Davis, Tadić, Austin, Redmond
Manchester City vs Southampton will be an intriguing game, as nobody is sure what to expect. If City’s recent form continues, the Saints have the firepower to make them pay. Should Guardiola’s men manage to dig themselves out of their current slump, they should keep their place at the top of the Premier League table.