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Southampton V Manchester City The Preview
Friday, 21st Jan 2022 15:26

Saints take on Premier League champions Manchester City at St Mary's on Saturday with nothing to lose, after all the visitors have won 18 of the 22 matches they have played so far and lost only twice, it's free hit weekend.

Saints are one of only 4 teams to get anything out of Manchester City in the Premier League, since the opening day when they lost to Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 the Champions have lost only one other game, that being at home To Crystal Palace and drawn with Liverpool at Anfield aside from our 0-0 draw back in September.

But since that defeat to Palace on 30th October they have been unstoppable in the league, or indeed anywhere aside from a 2-1 defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League, that game excepted they have won every other game, that adds up to 15 games including 12 straight Premier League wins.

This is not good reading for any side about to face them and it is hard to see how we won't be their next victims, just about the only hope we can have is that we are the 13th game in the Premier League sequence, but will it be unlucky for them or will they make it unlucky for us.

Back in September we employed a sort of 4-2-2-2 formation that changed depending on whether we were defending , a solid 4 at the back, two men holding, two wide midfielders supporting the back four but having to get up when necessary and two up front.

It is likely that this will be employed again, the only difference is who will start the game.

In goal you would expect Fraser Forster to be there, his error against Wolves was a rare one since his return to the side, in defence Tino Livramento will be missing and I expect Kyle Walker Peters to be in the right back spot with Romain Perraud at left back.

The two central defenders are up for debate, but personally i suspect it will be Mohammed Salisu and Jan Bednarek.

JWP & Oriel Romeu holding the centre and then who will play out wide.

I think we could see Ibrahima Diallo slot in on the right and Nathan Redmond on the left with Che Adams & Armando Broja up front, for a defensive starting line up although Stuart Armstrong could slot in for either Diallo or Redmond.

Livramento aside that is just about our strongest line up and the one good thing is that Ralph Hasenhuttl seems to have just about everyone else available for selection.

But this is Manchester City, this is not what I go to football for, I don't want to go to the Coliseum to see the Christians being thrown to the lions, I don't go to see performing seals perform all sorts of clever flicks and back heels to amaze me.

I go to see my team compete in a game of football and sadly for over half the Premier League that is not the case these days when they play Manchester City.

We spend £100 million on building a squad, they spend it on one player who doesn't even get a regular game in the starting line up.

Football cannot survive on such a one sided basis, the time for a European Super League is now here, let the big clubs with the money go off and play in that and let the rest of us play in a league that is about picking the right managers and players and not who has the most money.

Football now is like Formula One, you can be the best player in the league, but if you aren't in the richest team you aren't going to win anything.

Sometimes we beat Manchester City and the other big clubs, but the gap is widening with every season, we beat them two years ago but they have spend a lot of money since then and at the moment are on fire.

So this is our second free hit for the season, if we lose then come the end of the season we will still have probably got as much off them as most, so we just have to go out there and hope.

The way to do it is dig in, do the basics, don't try to be two clever and cut out the lapses of concentration, then if we have a bit of luck we might keep our pride and if we have a lot of luck we might get a point and if we really really have a lot of luck a win, I'm not holding my breath.

Photo: Action Images

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Block8 added 16:23 - Jan 21
Opinions differ from fan to fan, personally our strongest team would always include Stuart Armstrong, I know many would disagree. Salisu over the last few games has begun to show his inexperience, I thought he was poor at Wolves. However I think his pace gets him a start on Saturday. I also think our need for pace upfront would favour starting Redmond there with Broja. Therefore my team would be Forster, KWP Bednarek, Salisu and Peraud, Romeu in front of them and S Armstrong, JWP and Diallo as a three with Redmond and Broja up front.
Also I go home & away to see my team and I'm pleased to be able to watch some of the best players in the world perform. And every sportsman wants to pit themselves against the best it will bring the best out of them!

FrankSaint added 18:21 - Jan 21
Thanks for all the analysis Nick, both for the match and on football finances. Here's a Premier League table based on estimated annual salary spend per league point earned to date. Before you look have a guess which two teams come bottom. It's very funny...

underweststand added 08:31 - Jan 22
This game ..and the next two Prem. games will be an opportunity for Ralph AND the team to show up and see how they really compare to " the Big Money " clubs who dominate this league. What bigger challenge could be?.
But one game at a time, and we know that we are one of a few sides who have managed to get points against City in recent years, and in truth we have performed better v. City than some of the results has shown.
Certainly Pep has shown a good deal of concern whenever we have played against them and he sees the potential in our squad that doesn't always show up in positive results.
Is there a chink in their armour?. I for one am glad that Aguero has gone, but am always cautious whenever De Bruyne plays against us. Here's hoping for a chunk of good luck.


highfield49 added 10:05 - Jan 22
Just as well you're not doing the pre match team talk Nick. You might say you're being realistic whereas defeatist seems to better describe your view of playing the top teams. Would I prefer to watch my team playing City in a full stadium or be a Pompey follower watching the other fallen teams like Sunderland, Charlton, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday or Wigan. For me there is only one answer and even if we do lose the game the players will have competed against the best. How many of the Fulham and Bournemouth supporters are going to be watching their team fearing that points today will take them closer to having to watch City beat them next season? You're welcome to continue beating the drum of support for a European Super league but don't dwell on it too much because in the interim period we can either produce a team that will play in the top league against against wealthier clubs or give up and scrabble around the lower leagues trying to get promoted.

SanMarco added 15:05 - Jan 22
Yes - I am not even nervous about this one. I just hope that if Man City have a bad day that we give ourselves the chance of getting something. For me that means trying to play our normal game. Sitting back and trying to absorb 95 mins of pressure will not work.

We should not lump this game in with the next two. We will probably get the same result today that most teams do vs this lot but both Manure and Spuds are teams we ought to have a chance again. A couple of points from these next three would be great and more would be a real bonus. Today is VERY, VERY tough but the next two are just tough.

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