Southampton vs Manchester City: Afterthought On Crucial Match-Up


Southampton vs Manchester City — a very important match during this busy period — did not disappoint. The Saints dropped points for the second consecutive game, and have now slipped down to third place on the Premier League table.

Visitors Manchester City have climbed up to second place, trailing leaders Chelsea by six points. The Blues failed to capitalize on today’s match by drawing with Sunderland yesterday, but they are still in a healthy position at the top.

City completely dominated this match, controlling 57 percent of the possession, and should have been given a penalty early on after Sergio Aguero was clearly fouled in the box. The referee instead opted to book the striker for simulation — ridiculous.

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The Sky Blues were able to withstand the pressure which Southampton have been known to exert over opponents this season. The Saints’ pressing had been almost impeccable, they would swarm the midfield, regaining possession quickly or forcing the opposition into mistakes. This time though, they were the ones who were on the back foot.

Southampton did have two really good chances to get a goal, but Joe Hart was not to be beaten. The English keeper put in a good effort today, and kept a valuable clean sheet for his team. The Saints survived the first half, but a seemingly resurgent Yaya Toure would put City ahead after the interval, on minute 51, with a trademark blast from just outside the box.

The Citizens were given quite the scare when defender Eliaquim Mangala was sent off for receiving a second yellow card in the 74th minute. Manuel Pelligrini was forced to sacrifice winger Jesus Navas, and bring on defender Martin Demichelis.

Frank Lampard – Flickr Creative Commons

The Saints — given such a lifeline — immediately went on the offensive, but seemingly too overjoyed at being handed such an advantage, left veteran midfielder Frank Lampard — a second-half substitute — completely unmarked near the edge of the box. Lampard did what Lampard does; as he had done so many times before for Chelsea, the old boy drilled a shot to the keeper’s right, and found the back of the net — giving City a 2-0 lead.

By the looks of things, it appeared that the Saints were the ones short a man. Their back line was broken by Aguero twice; the first time, the striker was stopped by a good save from keeper Fraser Forster in a one-on-one situation, but the second time, the striker would pass to left-back Gael Clichy who scored with an easy tap-in to settle things at 3-0.

Southampton only have one point to show for their last two outings, and things will only get worse. They have to face Arsenal on Wednesday, and a confident Manchester United next Monday.

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  • Can the Saints remain in the top four past December? I am beginning to doubt that. They had a perfect opportunity to grab at least one point against a 10-man City, but they were the ones who were left exposed.

    Teams are getting wise to their tactics, and they haven’t looked very threatening as of late. Champions League football next season is certainly attainable for the Saints, but they haven’t beaten a big club this campaign.

    They will get plenty of chances before 2014 ends though; with matches against Arsenal and United in only a few days, also Chelsea on the 28th of December, they have the opportunity to really earn their place in the top four.