• Benjamin Wolfe

Century up for Raheem Sterling? – Manchester City vs Southampton Preview

After a thrilling victory over RB Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek, Manchester City return to Premier League action against Hasenhuttl’s Southampton.

Team News:


John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are both still out of contention with injuries picked up on international duty. Pep Guardiola said ‘maybe after Wycombe or Chelsea’ we’ll see them again. Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden came through their returns midweek unscathed and are expected to be available.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Botterill/Imago

Predicted City XI:


Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Grealish, Sterling, Jesus

Overview:


Kick-off: 15:00

Venue: Etihad Stadium


Unfortunately, all of the talk after a thrilling goal-fest at the Etihad was about Pep Guardiola’s comments about the fans. In case you have somehow not seen, the City manager asked for more City fans to come to the Southampton game in his post-match interview. This caused an uproar amongst certain sections of the fanbase and provided plenty of ammo for the City haters out there to fire at the club.


Pep himself spoke on the subject again in the presser for this game but honestly, kick-off cannot come quickly enough. This whole episode has been embarrassing and the best thing right now is to watch Manchester City play Pep Guardiola football and for everyone to move on.


Speaking of which, City enter this fixture in fine goalscoring form. A total of sixteen goals in three previous home games is mightily impressive and hopefully too much for winless Southampton. City have scored 21 goals in their past four home games, with 13 different scorers. Who needs a new striker? You would expect City to have too much for our southern opposition, but if the Premier League has taught us anything, it is: underestimate nobody.

I fully expect Pep to go strong in his team selection, and we could see Raheem Sterling return to the starting line-up. The England winger is in line to make his 200th Premier League appearance. He is only three goals away from his Premier League century. A hattrick on the cards would make quite the occasion. Sterling has seven goals and four assists against the Saints.


A win tomorrow would be the perfect remedy for a very strange and disappointing 48 hours. It will be interesting to witness the Etihad crowd, but what I want to see and hear is City fans in full voice supporting the club, the manager and the players. 'Cos we've got Guardiola.

Photo courtesy of David Blunsden/Imago

Match Officials:


Referee: Jonathan Moss

Assistants: Marc Perry, Timothy Wood

Fourth official: Peter Bankes

VAR: Martin Atkinson

Assistant VAR: Richard West

Opposition:


Ralph Hasenhuttl is without Theo Walcott and Stuart Armstrong through injury, however, Shane Long is back after Covid isolation. The Saints are currently winless in the Premier League with three draws and a defeat. Four successive draws have not occurred for them since March 2002. The Saints have won just two of 44 previous visits to the reigning Premier League champions, so Ralph has his work cut out indeed. The loss of Danny Ings in the transfer window was a huge blow.

Southampton’s recent league form: LDDD

Photo courtesy of Bradley Collyer/Imago

Predicted Southampton XI:


McCarthy; Livramento, Stephens, Salisu, Perraud; Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo; Redmond, Adams


Recent History vs Southampton:


Manchester City have won ten of their last eleven games against the Saints. The loss occurring in July 2020 as City went down 1-0 in the Premier League. However, one obvious common occurrence in these fixtures is goals. City have scored 26 goals over those eleven games. Hopefully, more of that to come.


Prediction:


I can only see a City victory here. Even if Pep Guardiola decides to rotate, the team should be more than capable. I’m going to predict a man of the match performance from Raheem Sterling to mark his 200th Premier League appearance. Minimum of two goals from him. Let’s see.

Written by: @CityReportBen


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