Saturday, 7 December 2013

Match Preview: Southampton vs Manchester City

City face tough trip to South Coast after win at West Brom

By Aaron Leggott

After Wednesday's 3-2 win at West Brom, Manchester City are set to travel away from the Etihad for the second time in four days, with a tough trip to Mauricio Pochettino's invigorated Southampton team next on the agenda.

After his appointment as successor to Nigel Adkins in January, many were critical of the decision and predicted the Saints might seriously struggle to stay in the Premier League.

Photo: Paul Watts/Southampton FC

What has happened since then is quite extraordinary. Under the Argentine, Southampton secured Premier League survival with ease, before taking the next step this season.

Currently eighth in the league on 22 points, they have won a lot of plaudits for their high pressing game and Pochettino's desire to blood in youngsters from the academy with quality additions has worked perfectly.

Three defeats on the bounce has taken some of the gloss off such a good start, but Manuel Pellegrini's men will be under no illusions that Saturday's trip to St. Mary's will be one of the toughest this year.

Vincent Kompany will be expected to retain his place after returning from injury on Wednesday, whilst David Silva and Stevan Jovetić will not be available for the trip, with both expected to return back to full training on Monday morning.

Matija Nastasić is also missing for the Blues, meaning Martín Demichelis will likely keep his place alongside Kompany at the heart of the defence.

Gaël Clichy and Álvaro Negredo were rested for the midweek win over the Baggies, but the pair will probably replace Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Džeko after being given deserved rests. 

Injuries have hit the Saints hard recently, and the news that Victor Wanyama will miss the next six weeks will be a big blow to Pochettino. 

Artur Boruc is also set to suffer a lengthy spell on the sidelines after picking up a hand injury, whilst Nathaniel Clyne and Guly du Prado will also miss out. José Fonte, Gastón Ramírez and Morgan Schneiderlin are all doubts for the game.

My thoughts

We have struggled to pick up points away from home this season so Wednesday's victory at West Brom was a crucial one. 

Southampton will bring tougher tests to this City team, and they have deservedly gained a lot of plaudits for their impressive style of play this season. 

But despite our poor results, we haven't played too badly away from home this season, with individual mistakes usually the cause for dropping points.

The players will know that anything less than a win won't be enough if City want to close the six point gap from Arsenal at the top of the league before next weekends meeting between the two teams. 

Prediction: Southampton 1 - 2 City

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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