- Adam Howarth
Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Southampton vs Man City in the Carabao Cup Preview
After consecutive wins over Chelsea in the Premier League and FA Cup to kick off 2023, Manchester City now turn their attention to another cup competition.
The Blues travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton on Wednesday, 11 January, for a Carabao Cup quarter-final clash, which kicks off at 8 pm (GMT) and will be televised on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
After Pep Guardiola’s failed experiment with the City team at Stamford Bridge last week, the Catalan opted for a more familiar approach when his side met Chelsea again at the Etihad, where several starting players impressed.
Aymeric Laporte made a welcome return to the City starting lineup on Sunday after recovering from a knock, yet Ruben Dias remains unavailable as the only absentee due to a hamstring injury he sustained just after the World Cup.
Jack Grealish was absent from Guardiola’s 20-man squad in the FA Cup due to illness but has been pictured in training today by club photographers.
'Cup keeper' Stefan Ortega is expected to start again in between the sticks. In front of the German could be any of City’s many in-form defenders. John Stones and Nathan Ake were rested against Chelsea and could come back in.
Sergio Gomez impressed with Kyle Walker in the full-back positions, and the pair may have earned another start. But 18-year-old Rico Lewis will be eyeing a return to the starting lineup given his impressive form.
In midfield, Kalvin Phillips is in line to make his first start for the club; Guardiola stated this afternoon that we will ‘have to see’ if the former Leeds man will start at St Mary’s.
Club captain Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne were unused substitutes last time out and could return here, but Phil Foden may have done enough to keep his place in midfield after a strong display on Sunday.
Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish came off the bench to combine for the winner last week in West London. Mahrez then delivered a Man of the Match display on Sunday. They’re in line to start on the wings, though with the uncertainty surrounding Grealish’s fitness, Cole Palmer may be given another chance to shine.
With a mammoth run of fixtures on the horizon for the Citizens, Erling Haaland may be rested again here, allowing World Cup winner Julian Alvarez to keep his place in the starting eleven.
Ortega; Lewis, Akanji, Laporte, Ake; Phillips, De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Alvarez, Palmer
Southampton have struggled so far this season; poor form led to the sacking of Ralph Hassenhuttl and the subsequent appointment of Luton Town’s Nathan Jones as manager.
But four defeats in four league matches have already meant that the Welshman isn’t especially popular among the St Mary’s faithful, with the club rock bottom of the Premier League, three points from safety with just three wins in 18 games this term.
On the back of an FA Cup win at Crystal Palace, cup progress may be the Saints’ only hope this year after overcoming League One sides Sheffield Wednesday and Lincoln City to get here.
The South coast side are currently without a few players: Tino Livramento will miss out with a knee injury, while Armel Bella-Kotchap and Stuart Armstrong are also expected to miss out again, with former blue Juan Larios a doubt.
New signing Mislav Orsic is in contention to start, and we may see Gavin Bazunu, Romeo Lavia and Sam Edozie feature, all of whom swapped the Etihad for St Mary’s in the summer.
Though an exit here would allow them to focus solely on avoiding relegation, hosting the champions just three games away from Wembley, Southampton will certainly be up for this one.
Since their promotion to the top flight in 2012, City have had a good record against Southampton, and under Pep Guardiola, that has been no different, with the Citizens having lost to them just once since the Catalan’s 2016 arrival.
The last time the club faced them in this competition came in a 3-1 win back in 2019, in the fourth round, where Tommy Doyle made his debut on the club’s way to a third straight Carabao Cup title.
City also faced Southampton in another quarter-final at St Mary’s last season, coming in the FA Cup, where some inspired substitutions from Guardiola guided the team to a 4-1 win and a place at Wembley.
Yet in both league meetings last campaign, the Premier League champions didn’t win once, drawing both times. But back in October, they responded with a 4-0 win, confirming their status as firm favourites for this one.
Referee: Peter Bankes Assistants: Edward Smart & Nick Greenhalgh
Fourth Official: John Brooks
Written by: @AdamHowarthSJ
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