Southampton host Champions League semifinalists Manchester City on Sunday hoping to gain maximum points and get closer to securing a Europa League spot.
The Citizens go into this tie with good league form, winning 4 of their last 5 and the other one ending in a draw. Those victories include a 4-0 against Stoke City and a 0-3 thrashing of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. With one eye on the Champions League semifinal clash against Real Madrid, Manuel Pellegrini will be sure to rest key names in order to reduce the risk of injury. But a heavily rotated squad does not mean the Chilean will expect anything other than 3 points, especially since finishing in the top 4 is still a priority to ensure Champions League football next season.
The Saints are on a mixed run of form, managing only 4 wins in their last 8 league games. They will look to keep their Europa League hopes alive with a victory against a City side that will likely be looking towards their midweek fixture.
Charlie Austin and Florin Gardos are injured for Southampton and will sit this one out. Apart from that, Koeman has a full strength squad to chose from.
Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Forster; Bertrand, van Dijk, Fonte, Soares; Romeu, Wanyama, Tadic, Rodriguez, Davis; Long
David Silva and Yaya Toure will likely sit out of this one with injuries. Apart from them, Manuel Pellegrini has a fully fit squad at his disposal. The Chilean is likely to rest key players ahead of their Champions League tie, so a heavily rotated City squad can be expected.
Starting XI (4-4-2) : Hart; Kolarov, Mangala, Otamendi, Sagna; Nasri, Fernando, Delph, Sterling; Bony, Iheanacho
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 5 matches against Southampton, winning the last 4.
- The last time Southampton beat Manchester City was in February 2013.
- Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has been involved in 5 goals in his last 4 Premier League matches against Southampton (three goals, two assists).
- Manchester City’s Joe Hart, if he plays, will make his 300th Premier League appearance on Sunday and would be the sixth English goalkeeper to reach this milestone.
- Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has scored in each of his last 5 league appearances.
- Southampton have fired in the most open play crosses in the Premier League this season (654) and have scored the most headed goals (14).
- Manchester City have conceded 1 goal every 78 minutes in the absence of Captain Vincent Kompany this season, compared to 1 every 180 minutes when he has been present.
Southampton 1 – 1 Manchester City
The Citizens will have one eye on their Champions League tie against Real Madrid, but Manuel Pellegrini will expect nothing less than a victory at St.Mary’s. Pellegrini will be well aware of the fact the finishing in the top 4 is still the best way to secure European qualification for Manchester City. But Southampton are a strong side at home and it is highly unlikely that City’s second string squad will be able to go back with a victory as comprehensive as the reverse leg at the Etihad, which finished 3-1.
- Southampton Win : 7/4
- Draw : 23/10
- Manchester City Win : 13/8