Southampton v Manchester City Cheat Sheet
Southampton v Manchester City
Saturday afternoon sees Manchester City travel to the south coast to face off with Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium. The home side are rock bottom of the table and four points from safety, needing to find form from somewhere to secure their place in the top division of English football next season. The visitors are in second, eight points behind Arsenal (with a game in hand), and they will be needing a win here to put the pressure on them ahead of their trip to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Southampton have been very disappointing this season and are in trouble at the foot of the table. They are now onto their third manager of the season having already sacked Nathan Jones and Ralph Hassenhuttl this season and Ruben Selles is now in charge. Results have improved slightly since the Spaniard has taken charge, winning two, drawing two and losing three of his six league games in charge. However, they have lost two important games against fellow strugglers Leeds and West Ham in recent weeks and have a tricky run-in, including Manchester City, Arsenal, Newcastle, Brighton and Liverpool. They have won just one league game here since August and have picked up just ten points from their 14 games – the worst total of any team. Che Adams, Mohammed Salisu, Valentino Livramento and Juan Larios are all out here, whilst Armel Bella-Kotchap is a doubt.
Manchester City’s priority this season is the Champions League but Pep Guardiola will be desperate for another Premier League trophy. However, they have a favourable run-in. Of the teams currently in the top-half, the Cityzens only have to play Arsenal, Brighton, Brentford and Fulham and they will still believe that they can catch the Gunners at the top of the table, especially if they can beat them at the Etihad at the end of April. They have looked ruthless in recent weeks, winning their last seven games and their last three by an aggregate scoreline of 13-1. They now return to the venue where they were knocked out of the EFL Cup in January having lost 2-0 to the Saints earlier this year and will be looking for revenge against a side that have only beaten them twice in 16 attempts. Norwegian striker Erling Haaland has returned to training but may not be risked given they play in the Champions league next week, but Phil Foden is still out. Kevin de Bruyne could register his 100th Premier League assist here, so there is an extra bit of personal incentive for him to help in getting City over the line in the hunt for the title.
Rodri averages 1.75 shots per 90 in the league this season and since the World Cup, his numbers have increased even further. In his last 16 matches for club and country, he has had 32 shots in 1330 minutes at a rate of 2.17 shots per 90, having at least one shot in 15 of them. He has had at least two shots in 11 of them, with three or more in five.
The main concern would be that Manchester City could run away with the game and Rodri could be rested ahead of the European tie in midweek but he has had a large number of his shots in the first half. He has played at St Mary’s three times, having five shots with one on target. This selection has landed in two of those three.
Ilkay Gundogan averages 2.10 shots per 90 in the league this season and has scored in each of his last two games. Across his last nine games, he has had 17 shots with nine of them on target – scoring three goals. However, just like Rodri, he may be rested if Manchester City are winning comfortably early on. The German has played against Southampton in eight league games, having 18 shots and three of those on target.
In Ruben Selles’ seven games in charge, Southampton have conceded plenty of chances with each team having at least ten shots and an average of 13.14 shots per game in the league, and given Manchester City’s clear attacking threat, that average should increase even more here – giving Gundogan more opportunities.
Manchester City average 6.57 corners per game this season, falling to 5.36 away from home. Across their last ten on the road, this selection has landed six times and they have averaged five and a half corners per game. They have also had six or more corners in four of their last five away games. Southampton concede an average of 3.93 corners per game. In Ruben Selles’ seven games in charge, the Saints have conceded 39 corners at an average of 5.57 per match, with their opponents having at least three corners in all of them. The best team they have faced in that time, Manchester United, managed seven despite being down to ten men for the majority of the game.
Since 2016/17, these two sides have met each other 13 times in league games. In those games, City have had 117 corners at an average of an incredible nine per game. This selection has landed in 12 of those matches and the Cityzens have reached ten or more in five of those games.
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