St. Mary’s – Sunday 30th November at 13:30
Two big live games for fans to enjoy on Sunday afternoon, beginning with defending champions Manchester City travelling down to the south coast to face this seasons surprise package Southampton.
Back at the start of August not even the most diehard Saints fan could have dreamed, that after 12 games of the season they would be welcoming the reigning champs to St. Mary’s while sitting 1 place and 2pts better off than their most illustrious visitors. Ronaldo Koeman has worked wonders with a squad that was almost completely overhauled in the summer, after a host of key players moved on to bigger clubs.
All the new signings have settled in quickly and combined with a base of talented youngsters, Southampton find themselves in the hunt for a Champions League place, rather than the relegation battle that everyone predicted they would be facing this year.
Their success has been built on a solid foundation of the best defence in the league, having conceded just 6 goals in 12 games that gives them the best chance of taking 3pts every time they step on the pitch. Plus with the attacking prowess of Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle and Shane Long at the other end, they’ve been able to capitalise on their opportunities better than most.
Manchester City have at times shown flashes of their most dominant form but despite just 2 league defeats from 12, they’re struggling to keep up with early leaders Chelsea who are already 8pts ahead of the champions.
City continue to struggle in the Champions League and ongoing injuries are a constant problem for Manuel Pellegrini but when his key players are fit and on form, they are still more than a match for almost any side in the world, as demonstrated by their 3-2 win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
As well as Saints have played this season, the schedule has so far been very kind to them and worryingly when they have had to face any of last season’s top 6, they’ve come up short. Losing at both Spurs and Liverpool, their only defeats of the campaign so far but until they register a win against one of the traditional top teams the jury remains out on what they can achieve this year.
Southampton have a decent enough record against The Citizens and remain unbeaten at home this season but City confidence should be high after their late comeback against Bayern in midweek and I think we’ll see the champions edge a close contest this weekend. The advised trade is to back Manchester City straight up at 2.34.