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Southampton vs Manchester City: 19/12/2020 – match preview and predicted starting XIs

Southampton vs Manchester City

Date: 19/12/2020

Time: 15:00

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium

Referee: Mike Dean

TV: Amazon Prime

High-flying Southampton welcome a faltering Manchester City side to the St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday. Ralph Hassenhutl’s side come into this on the back of a 1-1 away draw to Arsenal, and Pep Guardiola’s side on the back of the same scoreline, but at home to 19th placed West Brom in a frustrating showing.

Southampton have been really fast out of the blocks this season, coming into this game perched third in the table, having lost just once in their past 11 matches. The Austrian’s side have been reasonably resolute in defence, and will be looking to continue that streak against a City side who have really struggled in front of the opposition goal this season, to much frustration amongst the City faithful.

Last time the teams clashed here, Southampton scored a wonderful goal to catch Ederson off his line, and then completely locked City out for the remainder of the match, taking away a fantastic three points on the back of a tactical masterclass. Given the present fortunes of both sides, a repeat of that feat looks like a real possibility come Saturday.

A lot hinges, of course, on Sergio Aguero’s fitness; in the absence of the mercurial Argentine, City have looked a shadow of the side that racked up 198 points in two seasons, and many have started questioning the new deal that was handed to Pep earlier this season. A response is required, and City’s all-time leading goalscorer may just be the perfect individual to lead that charge, as City look to resurge their season after falling eight points behind defending champions Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand.

Team News


Southampton have struck gold in terms of squad fitness, with not a single player missing through injury (or suspension, for that matter), as we commence the tough Christmas spell. Ralph Hassenhutl will be able to call upon anyone he desires, and many expect him to stick with the same lineup he started against Arsenal, despite Moussa Djenepo contending for a place in the XI as well.

Manchester City

Sergio Aguero returned to the field as a substitute in their dismal draw at home to West Brom. Guardiola mentioned, “After the game, he could not train. Yesterday no training, today he trained really well, but I don’t know how many minutes he can play.” Despite not being match sharp, City’s severe drought in front of goal and Gabriel Jesus’ dry scoring spell could see him start for just the third time this season.

Going the opposite way, young defenders Eric Garcia and Oleksandr Zinchenko are the only players missing through injury. The remainder of the squad can be called upon. John Stones is likely to return to the XI following him sitting out the draw at the Etihad, as Aymeric Laporte continues to be out of favour.

Predicted Starting XIs

Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Walcott, Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu, Djenepo; Che Adams, Ings

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

Score Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Manchester City

The quality definitely favours the visitors, but Southampton are on red hot form, and City haven’t been able to achieve too much in front of goal despite their quality upfront. Even though Aguero will be back in some sense, offering City a huge boost, I believe Ralph Hassenhutl will be sure to form a plan to deal with him. A win for the Saints would at least temporarily take them to second, but I expect they may have to settle for a point in what is sure to be a gritty match all around.

Ayush Verma

20. Student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Manchester City correspondent for 90MAAT

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