3rd placed Southampton are flying as they take on a strangely average Manchester City
Manchester City to win 2-1
Southampton are absolutely flying right now, picking up points left, right and centre in what is turning out to be a terrific season for the Saints.
Their only defeat since the end of September came at the hands of a stoppage time winner for Manchester United a few weeks ago, but otherwise they have looked a very good team in all areas of the pitch.
They have an opportunity to leap into 2nd, albeit temporarily perhaps, as Tottenham play their respective fixture a day later.
Manchester City will be desperate to bounce back from their distinctly average form of late, picking up 8 points from the last 15 available. This kind of form will not be enough to challenge for the title, and could see them struggle to make the top four unless they pick up their performances.
This should be one of the clashes of the weekend, and one of the closest to call.
Form Guide (all comps): DLWWD
Reasons to be cheerful:
3rd highest scorers in the league this season
Variety of goalscorers is keeping teams guessing
Reasons to be fearful:
Will be wary of a Manchester City response
Lost 7 of the last 8 clashes against City
You can understand the confidence flowing through Southampton’s veins right now when they are disappointed with just a draw against Arsenal, the match finishing 1-1 in midweek.
Such is the fantastic job manager Hasenhuttl is doing at The Saints, many would have expected them to have taken all three points against The Gunners, though a point is certainly not a bad result.
You would imagine that Man City will cause Southampton greater problems than Arsenal, even though Guardiola’s men are not in the best of form themselves currently. They will be determined to register a victory.
That being said, only two sides in the league have more effective attacks than the Saints, with just Liverpool and Spurs outscoring them.
They have a real chance here.
Star Man – Danny Ings
With much of this game likely played in Southampton’s half, Ings’ pace on the counterattack will be vital.
Form Guide (all comps): DWWDD
Reasons to be cheerful
No defeats in seven despite mixed performances
Sergio Aguero gradually working way back to fitness
Reasons to be fearful
Lacked appetite against United in the derby
Southampton will find City’s weaknesses
Despite a strange Premier League season to date, most of the top sides are now working their way towards the top end of the table.
Liverpool have retaken the top spots, with Tottenham, Chelsea and Leicester following not far behind. If Manchester United win their games in hand, they’ll go 2nd.
Unfortunately for City fans, that does not seem to be the case currently, though there is little need for panic just yet.
Despite their mixed performances, they are not losing football matches very often at all, showing their defence is solid. A
s they showed against Manchester United, however, it is their attack which is struggling. The likes of Sterling, Silva, Mahrez and Jesus are not performing with the same spark as previous seasons, while they have missed the quality of Aguero at the sharp end.
Pep will be looking for them to bite back here.
Star Man – Kevin De Bruyne
Is trying his hardest to drive his side on, though he is not getting the support from those around him right now.
Should be an entertaining, end-to-end match
Both sides likely to score
Likely just a goal to separate sides
Even if Manchester City win this one, the way Southampton are playing it’s unlikely that it will be comfortable for The Citizens.
The Saints’ heavy pressure means City will have to be slick and precise on the ball, something which they’ve struggled to do of late.
That being said, Guardiola usually knows how to get a big performance out of his stars, and many would back them to do that here.
Manchester City to win 2-1