There’s an absolute gulf between these two sides in some respects, but few would disagree that they have both experienced fantastic campaigns. In the case of Manchester City, the Blues are seen as clear favourites for the title even though they approach this game in 3rd. Southampton on the other hand have kicked on from their relegation difficulties last term and occupy a respectable top half placing.
Nevertheless, while Manuel Pellegrini’s side might be favourites for the championship, there is still an awful lot of work to do if they are to secure top spot. Chelsea might have faltered over the last couple of weeks, but current league leaders Liverpool are completely on song and lead the Etihad Stadium outfit by four points. The fact that City boast two games in hand has made many suggest that they will overthrow the Reds, but one has to assume that there will be plenty more twists and turns left in this race. They certainly approach the game with some decent form behind them though and having taken a point off Arsenal and thrashed Manchester United 3-0 in their last two games, they have almost hurdled over all of their major challenges. It’s now just a case of replicating such form against lower placed sides and also continuing a run which has seen them remain unbeaten for seven games.
The fact that Southampton’s side contains three players that many are suggesting should be England regulars is testament to their success. The progress that Saints have made over the years has been terrific to say the least and while European qualification appears to be off the agenda, they have cemented a solid position of 8th. Their recent form suggests that they will remain in their lofty position as well, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side thrashing Newcastle 4-0 in their last outing – and winning three of their last five matches by decent margins.
Manchester City look set to receive a huge boost for this clash, with Sergio Aguero poised to return from the hamstring problem that has kept him on the sidelines. That’s all there is to report for City, and it’s a similar story for their opponents. While Mauricio Pochettino will still be without Victor Wanyama, Maya Yoshida and Kelvin Davis through injury problems, Saints don’t have any new concerns and are widely tipped to keep changes to a minimum.
Southampton have enjoyed a grand campaign and are rightfully taking all of the plaudits. However, let’s not forget that Manchester City hold the home advantage for this encounter and with the Etihad Stadium being something of a fortress this year, our prediction is going to be a solid 2-0 win for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.