Manchester City host Southampton at the Etihad today, with the game set to kick off at 3pm.
Pep Guardiola’s side can go two points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a win today. After Liverpool drew with Arsenal yesterday, Man City have the chance to begin pulling away from Jurgen Klopp’s side. The champions are unbeaten after 10 games: winning eight and drawing two. Winning the title may not be as straightforward as last season, as Liverpool and Chelsea could push them, but they’ll be more than confident of getting the job done.
Man City have blown away most sides they’ve faced this season. They have scored 27 goals already, and have conceded just three. They’ve scored five against Cardiff and Burnley, and six against Huddersfield. It would not be at all surprising if they banged a few more in today. Their attacking players can’t be matched by anyone in the league for talent. It’s not just their front three, but their midfield as well. With David and Bernardo Silva in the middle of the park, and Fernandinho sitting behind them, they have so many ways to hurt you.
There is a good chance that they’ll blow Southampton away today. The Saints will sit deep and try to defend for their lives. But once City score one, the floodgates could open. If Southampton come out and start playing after going a goal down, City could pick them apart. There is a very high chance that this one will be a hammering, as it seems very unlikely that Southampton will get anything from the game.
Mark Hughes’ side are just two points clear of the relegation zone. They have managed just one win and four draws, leaving them on seven points. They drew their last two games: both 0-0 against Bournemouth and Newcastle. The Saints haven’t managed to score a goal in their last five games, which is obviously very disappointing. They have always had a problem with scoring goals, but the signing of Danny Ings was supposed to help that. But that hasn’t been the case, despite him having a good start on the south coast.
This could be a very difficult season for Southampton. There’s a decent squad of players there, but they haven’t managed to do it yet. Maybe they’ll click and start playing better and picking up more points, but that doesn’t seem very likely. There is no way this should be a side battling relegation, but they could be doing that for the second year running. Mark Hughes did a great job keeping them up last season, but there’s a question mark over how much he’ll improve this team. If they don’t start playing better, they may look to go in a different direction.
Today’s game will be very difficult for them. They’re going to sit deep and try to defend with everything they have. But with City having so many amazing attacking players, keeping them out will be very difficult. Once City score one, Southampton will have to be a bit more adventurous. They could then be ripped apart. The longer they stay in the game, the better chance they’ll have. Even being 1-0 down wouldn’t be the end of the world. If it’s 1-0 with 10 minutes to play, the Saints could go for it, and could snatch a point. But it’s more likely that it’ll be 3-0 after 80 minutes than 1-0.
Kevin De Bruyne will be out for around six weeks after sustaining knee ligament damage on Thursday. Ilkay Gundogan is back in training, but this one will likely come too soon. Nicolas Otamendi is out.
Southampton have no injury concerns. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is fit after recovering from illness.
It is very likely that this game will be a walkover. Southampton haven’t been too bad defensively this season, but it’s unlikely they’ll be good enough to keep City out. Man City will absolutely hammer a lot of teams this season, and there isn’t any shame in being hammered by them because they’re just that good. Still, it wouldn’t be wise to completely write the Saints off, because you just never know. They could put in their best performance of the season and get out with something, but that seems unlikely.
The team news will be out at 3pm, and you’ll get that up here as well. Enjoy the game.
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