Southampton vs Man City – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 8th April 2023
St Mary’s Stadium
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Man City’s visit to Southampton. The home side have the worst home record in the league – can anybody see it improving here? Read on with our Southampton vs Man City prediction.
Southampton vs Man City Match Preview
Southampton host Manchester City at St Mary’s Stadium with neither side having played a match in midweek. A disappointing 1-0 defeat away to fellow relegation battlers West Ham ensured that Southampton remain anchored at the foot of the table, albeit only four points away from safety owing to the tight nature of this season’s Premier League relegation battle. Southampton had 62% possession in the second half but weren’t able to generate the kind of goal threat to warrant any kind of positive result from the match.
With just nine games remaining, this fixture has perhaps come at the wrong time for the south coast club. While nothing in football is a foregone conclusion, this fixture is about as tough as you can get, particularly with the kind of form the away side are in at the moment. Anything gained here would be a bonus; Southampton were actually able to defeat Manchester City at home just a few short months ago in the EFL Cup, though City have improved a lot since that encounter including a rejigged formation and 17 goals in their last three matches.
Man City’s imperious performance in their 4-1 demolition of Liverpool served to reinforce the perception that this season’s title race is far from over. While Arsenal are eight points clear and in tremendous form themselves, City have a game in hand and a marginally better goal difference. Though City have a huge Champions League quarter-final clash against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, there can be no let-up and though a few changes are possible, we don’t anticipate wholesale ones as any further dropped points could prove to be disastrous with the kind of form Arsenal are in.
Liverpool may have taken the lead against City, but following that opening goal, they were practically passengers as City ran riot. The xG stat of 1.91 looks rather on the low side in contrast to the dominating nature of their performance, and they can take great confidence from that despite Liverpool’s inconsistency this season. That they achieved this without their chief goal threat Erling Haaland bodes well, as they may well elect to rest the big Norwegian on a few occasions where possible as they look to compete on multiple fronts.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Adams, Bella-Kotchap, Salisu
Will Not Play: Larios, Livramento
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Foden
Southampton vs Man City Lineups (Predicted)
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; Ward-Prowse, Lavia; Sulemana, Alcaraz, Walcott; Adams
Man City (3-4-2-1): Ederson; Ake, Akanji, Dias; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Silva; Mahrez, Grealish; Haaland
Southampton vs Man City Analysis
Southampton Will Need to Break with Purpose
There are no prizes for correctly predicting the flow of the game here. City will monopolise possession, probing away until they can utilise the more direct threats of Haaland, Grealish and Mahrez in the final third. De Bruyne is playing more of a supporting role in this team, which is illustrated by his increased assists and reduced goal tally this season. Therefore, Southampton’s only real chance to get a result is to first and foremost shut down available space wherever possible. It’s virtually impossible to shut down everybody in a game of football, but they’ll need to defend compactly and aggressively to limit City to half chances.
Everybody understands the danger that Manchester City face when they play in this manner – they are vulnerable to counterattacks, but only high-quality counterattacks that are both fast and precise. Their Premier League defeats this season have come against Liverpool, Manchester United, Spurs and Brentford – all teams who, on their day, can produce devastating counter-attacking football, sweeping moves that certainly aren’t about smashing the ball into space and running after it. Can Southampton produce something like that? They did defeat City 2-0 in the EFL Cup, but that trophy isn’t considered to be a priority for City this season and that game came in a run of three defeats in six – the visitors are in much better form than that now.
City Will Want to Get the Game Over With
Though every game is hugely important in the closing stages of the Premier League, with such a big game looming on the horizon against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, City will want to get this match wrapped up with time to spare to give some players a break – preferably for most of the second half. Therefore, we don’t envisage a listless City performance in which they will be guilty of looking past their opponents. Rather, we expect them to take the game relentlessly to their beleaguered hosts in the hopes of taking a healthy lead into half-time.
It’s unlikely there will be any surprises. In a match like this, it’s also tempting to imagine that City could revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation but with the pre-match comments about Kyle Walker not fitting into the current system, we don’t anticipate that City will be playing with any traditional fullbacks. We expect City to attack with more urgency than perhaps they may ordinarily be inclined to – normally, they can retain control of the ball until the opposition starts to make defensive mistakes, but as we’ve stated, we believe it’s in their interests to try to kill this game off quickly and play with more risk.
We can certainly envisage a situation in which City find themselves a couple of goals up at half time, and then effectively ’empty the bench’ after scoring a third early in the second half. While it would no doubt be a further confidence booster to take Southampton to the cleaners, there’s just no reward in doing so other than a minor goal difference boost. With a massive Champions League game against Bayern Munich to prepare for, they want to ensure all of their star players are in the best possible condition.
Southampton’s prospects in this game most likely rely upon keeping it tight at the back and taking what they can get. As the Premier League’s joint-lowest goalscorers with Everton and Wolves, we don’t see them as being a particularly dangerous counter-attacking team (famous last words), so we’ll also back Man City to keep the clean sheet here barring a lack of concentration late on in the match.
Southampton 0-3 Man City
Southampton vs Man City Betting Tip – Man City -1 (win by 2 or more) Odds:
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