League leaders Manchester City look to maintain their gap on the challenging pack as they travel south to face Southampton at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Saturday
League leaders Manchester City look to maintain their gap on the challenging pack as they travel south to face Southampton at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Champions earned a vital victory over Chelsea last time out while the Saints were beaten 3-1 by Wolves.
The Saints’ have gone from strength to strength in recent weeks, having climbed up to 12th in the Premier League, a comfortable eleven points clear of the relegation positions.
Although, Wolves put a dent on Southampton’s fine form as their five-game unbeaten run came to an end at Molineux.
It was Raul Jimenez and Conor Coady who gave the hosts a two-goal cushion, though a stunning yet routine free-kick from James Ward-Prowse from 35-yards out got the visitors back in to the game in the final minutes.
The comeback fight was quicky ended though, with Adama Traore scoring the home side’s third of the game in the last moments of the game to seal all three points.
Southampton’s next opponent is one which is taking the league by storm, though a goalless draw at the Etihad against Manchester City in September should give Hassenhuttl’s side the confidence they need to go one better on Saturday.
Guardiola’s side secured their 13th successive league victory after they defeated title challengers Chelsea at the Etihad to move eleven points clear of Liverpool.
It was former Chelsea man Kevin de Bruyne who scored the only goal of the game in the 70th minute to seal an all-important three points for City.
Despite not having a recognised number nine following the departure of Sergio Aguero in the summer, the Cityzens have scored and astonishing 34 times during their impressive 13 game run.
So the goalless draw at the Etihad during their last meeting with Southampton will have come as a surprise to Pep Guardiola, though his side have failed to score in two of their last four league meetings against the Saints.
Victory would see them go 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League prior to Liverpool taking on Crystal Palace on Sunday, but questions remain as to whether City will be breached.
Both Mohamed Elyounoussi and Theo Walcott have tested positive for COVID-19 and miss the fixture against City, while Valentino Livramento and William Smallbone remain out through injury.
Fraser Forster is likely to remain in goal as Alex McCarthy continues to recover from his long-standing injury.
As for Manchester City, Cole Palmer and Oleksandr Zinchenko are both out having been absent last weekend, while it is a game too soon for Riyad Mahrez whose Algeria side recently exited the Africa Cup of Nations.
Despite John Stones starting ahead of Ruben Dias for their game against Chelsea, the Portuguese defender is set to return next to Aymeric Laporte.
Southampton vs Manchester City – kick off at 5:30pm (UK time) on Saturday 22nd January 2022.
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