Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
This match comes right out of the “foregone conclusions” box, at least on the face of it. Champions and current leaders Manchester City host perennial relegation-flirters Southampton. With Pep Guardiola’s men among the goals recently, and riding a series of four clean sheets into the bargain, there is little chance of Saints boss Mark Hughes providing anything but the most token resistance against one of his many, many former clubs.
Saints haven’t won a game in 90 minutes since the beginning of September, and the League Cup victory on penalties over Everton that kicked off October was also the only one of their last six games in which they’ve scored. Unless this has all been a big ruse to lull City into a false sense of security, it’s safe to say that all three points are staying in Manchester here.
Manchester City vs Southampton Prediction: Manchester City 4-0 Southampton
Monday night’s win at Tottenham delivered three points for City, but they will have been irritated that they didn’t build on a lead that came their way in the sixth minute, and the game could easily have ended in a draw as the hosts grew in confidence as the game went on. This weekend, Guardiola faces a team who start with little confidence and are unlikely to add any over the ninety minutes. Hughes will likely set out to frustrate his fellow ex-Barcelona man, but when that inevitably fails, he’s not got much of a Plan B.
Our recommended tip: Mahrez scores first
After four and a half years at Leicester, and everything that Mahrez was a part of there, it’s still a little weird to see him don a lighter shade of blue. However, the Algerian seems to have sailed through the acclimatisation period at his new club, and is enjoying being part of a side where the opposition can’t just single him out for attention. He grabbed the winner against Spurs, and has chipped in with five goals from a wide position already at his new club. At 4/1 (5.00) with Ladbrokes to get things going here, he looks good value.
Both league meetings between these sides last season were incredibly close games. Devastatingly so, for Southampton, who lost both times to goals deep in second-half injury time. At the Etihad, Kevin de Bruyne put the hosts ahead on 47 minutes only for Oriol Romeu to equalise with fifteen remaining. Six minutes into the additional period, Raheem Sterling played a one-two with de Bruyne before cutting in and firing past Fraser Forster.
At St Mary’s, on the final day of the season, Saints seemed to have secured a goalless draw, before Gabriel Jesus latched on to a brilliant pass from de Bruyne and lobbed home – bringing up a record 100 league points for his side in the process.
Top 3 Premier League Bookies
Players to watch: Ederson & Nathan Redmond
As City’s defensive record shows, Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson Moraes is a more than capable goalkeeper who is rarely beaten. However, his value to the side is greater than can be measured in saves and catches. His ability to strike pinpoint passes over a range of 70+ yards means that he provides an attacking threat like no goalkeeper the Premier League has ever seen. Even when the ball is in City’s penalty area, Ederson’s presence means they could be bearing down on the opposition goal within seconds.
Redmond is selected here because he’s got plenty of potential – breakneck pace, excellent close control and good attacking instincts. So much so that Pep Guardiola collared the player after last season’s 2-1 City win to tell him he should trust those instincts and attack more often. All of which would make it richly ironic if the former Norwich man stepped up to win the game today – it may seem unlikely, but the ability is certainly there.