Match: Manchester City vs Southampton
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Date and Time: 18th September, Saturday, 7:30 PM IST
Manchester City are looking unstoppable
Manchester City and Southampton, the two teams who will clash at the Etihad Stadium on Satuday, have had pretty similar starts to their season. After suffering a heartbreaking defeat in the final of the UEFA Champions League last season, Manchester City fans were hoping that their team will be able to start the new season with a trophy, as their first match was the 2021 FA Community Shield.
But Leicester City, the reigning FA Cup champions, turned out to be party-spoilers, as they secured a 1-0 win to lift the coveted trophy. To rub salt to Manchester City’s wounds, Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tottenham Hotspur team defeated Pep Guardiola’s men in their first Premier League match of the 2021/22 season.
But as is the case often with Manchester City, they produced one magical performance after another when they had their backs to their wall. The next two matches saw Manchester City wreaking havoc against Norwich City and Arsenal, while they defeated Leicester City in their last match. They had a bright start to their UEFA Champions League season as well, as the Cityzens registered a 6-3 triumph against German outfit RB Leipzig.
Just like City, Southampton had a very poor start, as they were defeated 3-1 by Rafael Benitez’s Everton in their first match of the 2021/22 season. However, Ralph Hasenhuttl and his boys have managed to somewhat turn things around, as they are unbeaten in their last three Premier League matches.
In their second match, they were able to hold the mighty Manchester United to a 1-1 draw, while the Saints registered a 2-2 draw against Newcastle United in their third match. In the previous match, James Ward Prowse & Co. got one point against a high-flying West Ham United side. Despite their current form sparking optimism, picking up points against Manchester City is always extremely difficult.
Manchester City: W W W L (Premier League)
Southampton: D D D L (Premier League)
Pep Guardiola will not face too many obstacles while selecting his starting XI, as he has almost a full-strength squad at his disposal. Second-choice goal-keeper Zack Steffen is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, but their number one custodian, Ederson Moraes has been in great form.
Centre-back John Stones, who was nursing a muscle injury, has now recovered fully and is likely to feature in this match. That is, however, not the case with another centre-back in Aymeric Laporte, as he is still recovering from his groin injury. Should Guardiola choose to play two central midfielders, Bernando Silva might have to drop to the bench, though he scored the winner in the last match.
Manchester City Predicted starting XI: Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan/Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Jack Grealish, Ferran Torres.
Unlike Pep Guardiola, Ralph Hasenhuttl is dealing with a few injuries in his team, as he has confirmed that both Theo Walcott and Stuart Armstrong will miss this fixture. The former is nursing muscular problems, while the latter is recovering from a calf injury. Norwegian winger Mohamed Elyounoussi is expected to feature in the starting XI, while James Ward-Prowse is likely to be seen in a slightly forward role.
Southampton Predicted Starting XI: Alex McCarthy, Tino Livramento, Jack Stephens, Mohammed Salisu, Romain Perraud, Oriol Romeu, Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Adam Armstrong.
MCI vs SOU: Top Picks
A hefty price tag of £100 million meant that English attacker Jack Grealish will always be under strict scrutiny while playing for Manchester City, but it has to be admitted that he has looked brilliant for Pep Guardiola’s team and has taken no time to adapt to the Cityzens’ formation.
The 26-year-old scored his first goal in a blue shirt in City’s second Premier League game against Norwich City, which they won 5-0. In their previous match against RB Leipzig, Grealish assisted the opening goal, scored by Nathan Ake, and then got himself on the score-sheet in the second half.
Like Grealish, Ferran Torres is another player who adapted to Guardiola’s style to play very quickly, as ever since joining the Manchester club from Valencia, he has played attactive football. In only 42 appearances, Torres has scored 15 goals for Manchester City.
After not doing much in the first two Premier League matches o the ongoing season, the Spanish youngster had a fantastic game against Arsenal. He scored City’s second goal of the match in the 12th minute, and then scored his second, and City’s fifth goal, in the 84th minute.
Captain and Vice-Captain Selection
Jack Grealish is not only a prime source of goals for Manchester City, but he is also creating a lot of chances for his attacking compatriots in almost every match. So, we have made him our captain. For vice-captaincy, we have selected Ferran Torres, who is expected to lead the lines for Manchester City.
MPL Fantasy XI
Note: The players recommended here need not be a part of the Playing 11 on game day. Users are advised to do their own research also and follow official sources and create their teams.