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Preview: Manchester City vs. Southampton - predictions, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Manchester City vs. Southampton - predictions, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Southampton, including team news, predicted XIs and head-to-head record.
By , Senior Reporter | 11mo

Premier League leaders Manchester City will look to tighten their grip on top spot when they welcome strugglers Southampton to the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

The reigning champions have won eight of their opening 10 matches, drawing the other two, and are out in front by virtue of their superior goal difference compared to Liverpool's.


Manchester City


Rather ominously for City's title rivals, the Citizens are top of the pile despite having already travelled to the Emirates Stadium, Anfield and Wembley Stadium in a tricky opening couple of months.

While Pep Guardiola was keen to write off the prospect of more records being broken this time around, on the back of accruing a staggering 100 points in 2017-18, it could be argued that City are even stronger this season.

That is thanks to their incredible defensive record, which has seen them concede just three goals in their first 10 matches to leave them on a par with the great Chelsea side of 2004-05. Another clean sheet in the league this weekend will make it seven in a row for the first time in their history.

Ederson could also become the first goalkeeper since Edwin Van der Saar to keep out the opposition for seven successive matches, with the Dutchman going on to make it 14 in a row - a record that may never be broken - during the 2008-09 season.

Opposition sides are struggling to so much as get shots away, while up the other end City are having few problems creating chances of their own. The only negative of their campaign to date, in fact, has been their profligate nature in front of goal.

Guardiola complained once more of his side not being clinical enough in their 2-0 win over Fulham in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on Thursday night, having seen them completely dominate the match but score just twice.

Ten changes were made for that second of five matches in 13 days - John Stones the only player to retain his place from the 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the week - with Guardiola making the most of his deep squad.

City have plenty of momentum on their side thanks to a run of nine matches without defeat, and just one loss in 16 outings all term, which will come in handy as they have another busy week ahead.

After taking on lowly Southampton on Sunday, the Citizens must then prepare for the visit of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League and Manchester United in the Premier League. In a season that promises so much, Guardiola's men are on course to better last term's incredible achievements.

Recent form in Premier League: WWWDWW
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWWW


Southampton


In stark contrast to their opponents, Southampton have scored just six goals all season in the top flight - 11 fewer than City - and have failed to find the back of the net in their last five matches.

A goalless draw against fellow strugglers Newcastle United last weekend followed on the back of another 0-0 stalemate against Bournemouth, making it the first time since April 2001 that they have gone this long without netting.

Not since a 2-2 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion on September 17 have the Saints found a way through, and that must be a huge worry for Mark Hughes as his side face five members of the established top six over the next two months.

That tricky run begins with this trip to the Etihad Stadium, where City have scored 18 goals and conceded just twice across their first five home fixtures.

Damage limitation may be the order of the day for Hughes's side, then, as they embark on what many people would consider an impossible mission. Having gone six matches without a league win since the opening day of September, this is not a match Saints supporters will be looking forward to.

A lack of goals is not exactly a new problem, as the south coast outfit have struggled to truly trouble opposition sides since Sadio Mane left for Liverpool in 2016.

Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino and now Hughes have all tried and failed to get the most out of the players available to them, and for a second season running the Saints are in a real battle to stay above the relegation zone.

Southampton, two points above Fulham in 18th place ahead of this latest round of matches, must find some attacking inspiration from somewhere if they are to have any hope of retaining their top-flight status.

Recent form in Premier League: DLLLDD
Recent form (all competitions): LLWLDD


Team News


Thursday's straightforward win against Fulham was not quite the perfect evening for Guardiola, as he saw De Bruyne limp off with a knee injury in the closing stages of the game.

The Belgian playmaker, who was making just his second start of the season, has been ruled out for five to six weeks with ligament damage, ruling him out of this match and next weekend's Manchester derby.

Danilo made his first appearance since September in that midweek cup win, while Ilkay Gundogan and Eliaquim Mangala are fast closing in on a return to first-team action.

Guardiola is likely to revert back to the same side that held off Tottenham last time out, though, meaning returns for the likes of Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez and David Silva.

Southampton have midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and striker Charlie Austin available for their trip to Manchester, having overcome illness and injury respectively.

Hughes had already hinted that he would consider ending the experiment of fielding Austin and Danny Ings together up front, however, so an extra midfielder may be brought in at the Etihad Stadium.

Nathan Redmond is in contention to start out wide, despite the winger getting in 19 shots in the Premier League this season without actually scoring - the most of any player without a goal to their name.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; Bernardo, Fernandinho, David Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling

Southampton possible starting lineup:
McCarthy; Soares, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Redmond, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Lemina, Elyounoussi; Ings


Head To Head

Man City have won seven of their last nine meetings with Southampton in the Premier League, drawing one and losing one.

Both of the Citizens' victories last season came via added-time winners, with Raheem Sterling scoring in the sixth minute of stoppage time in the home match and Gabriel Jesus in the fourth minute on the final day.

The Saints' most recent away triumph in this fixture came in April 2004 when a couple of Kevin Phillips goals helped them to a 3-1 win.



We say: Manchester City 2-0 Southampton

Man City create chances galore, do not concede and tend to get the job done in as efficient manner as possible. Southampton, by comparison, cannot score and, while they have managed to keep the opposition out in their last two matches, the Citizens are a far more rounded side than Bournemouth and Newcastle. Anything other than a comfortable home win would be a major shock.


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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool88002061424
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
3Arsenal84311311215
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
5Chelsea84221814414
6Crystal Palace842288014
7Burnley8332119212
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
10Bournemouth83231313011
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
17Southampton8215815-77
18Everton8215613-77
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116
20Watford8035420-163
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Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
UC
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool88002061424
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
3Arsenal84311311215
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
5Chelsea84221814414
6Crystal Palace842288014
7Burnley8332119212
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
10Bournemouth83231313011
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
17Southampton8215815-77
18Everton8215613-77
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116
20Watford8035420-163
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
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