Apr 15, 2017 at 5.30pm UK at ​St Mary's Stadium
Attendance: 31,850
Southampton
0-3
Man CityManchester City

Hojbjerg (31'), Davis (37'), Soares (41')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Kompany (55'), Sane (77'), Aguero (80')

Live Commentary: Southampton 0-3 Manchester City - as it happened

Pep Guardiola watches on during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Watford on December 14, 2016
© SilverHub
Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Manchester City's 3-0 win over Southampton, as the Citizens picked up the result required to move into third.

Vincent Kompany proved to be the star performer on his return to Manchester City's starting lineup, inspiring his side to a 3-0 win at Southampton.

The Belgium international scored the opener and produced a fine defensive all-round display in the remainder, as the Citizens picked up back-to-back league victories.

Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero were also on target in the second half, the latter of whom powered home a header to make it 11 goals in his last 11 outings.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.


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4.30pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium. The Citizens have a chance to open up a gap between themselves and the chasing pack in the race for the top four this afternoon, with the teams immediately around them not competing until last this weekend.

4.32pmThere is less to play for on the face of it as far as the Saints are concerned, meanwhile, although they will be hoping to maintain their impressive record of finishing in the top half for a fourth season in a row. Eighth place is a realistic target for them to chase down in the remaining weeks, with three points against Man City in this late Saturday kickoff enough to put them hot on West Bromwich Albion's hails.

4.34pmTEAM NEWS!

SOUTHAMPTON XI: Forster, Cedric, Stephens, Yoshida, Bertrand, Davis, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond, Gabbiadini

MANCHESTER CITY XI: Bravo, Clichy, Kompany, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Toure, Sane, Silva, De Bruyne, Navas, Aguero


4.36pmStarting with a look at the visiting team, manager Pep Guardiola has made four changes to his starting lineup from last weekend's 3-1 home win over Hull City. Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi return to the side and link up in the heart of defence, taking over from John Stones and Aleksandar Kolarov - the former of whom does not even make the squad today, presumably due to an injury concern.

4.38pmFurther forward, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho are the other two players to come back into the starting fold, with with Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling making way from that straightforward triumph over the Tigers seven days ago. The biggest question for Guardiola this afternoon was who would start in goal, and we now have the answer to that as Claudio Bravo retains his place over Wilfredo Caballero.

4.40pmWhat does all that mean tactics wise? Well, Sergio Aguero will lead the line as he looks to build on an impressive run that has seen him score 10 goals in his last 10 outings. The Argentina international, on course for his most prolific campaign yet in terms of goals-per-game, will be offered support by Leroy Sane and De Bruyne from wide areas, while Yaya Toure and David Silva will likely occupy more central roles. That leaves Fernandinho deep in a 4-1-4-1 system.

4.42pmIn terms of the home side, manager Claude Puel has been handed a major boost by the return to fitness of Manolo Gabbiadini. The ex-Napoli marksman was touch-and-go for this one after missing out of late with a groin injury but, not only does he make the squad, he is handed a starting role in attack. The Saints really do need the Italian in their ranks to fire on all cylinders, as he has bagged four in four league games since joining and also netted twice in the EFL Cup final.

4.44pmNorthern Ireland international Steven Davis also returns from injury this afternoon to partner Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in defensive midfield due to the suspension of Oriol Romeu - the former Barcelona man sitting out the second of his two-man ban today. Dusan Tadic is handed an attacking-midfield role, starting in his favoured number 10 position, from where he has been involved in five goals in his last six Premier League outings.

4.46pmEngland internationals Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse retain their wide midfield positions in the likely 4-2-3-1, while Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares - praised by opposition boss Guardiola in the build-up to today's match - will look to prove support from full-back. In central defence is Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida, as Virgil van Dijk continues to miss out with an injury problem; one that he is not expected to return from this term.

4.48pmBENCH WATCH!

SOUTHAMPTON SUBS: Clasie, Long, Rodriguez, Caceres, Martina, Boufal, Hassen

MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Caballero, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Fernando, Sterling, Garcia, Iheanacho


4.50pmJordy Clasie will perhaps feel a bit aggrieved to have dropped out of the side this afternoon following his match-winning display at The Hawthorns last time out, but room had to be made for the returning Davis. Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez are back-up options up top now that Gabbiadini is back in the side, while for the visitors they have Sterling and Ikechi Iheanacho among their attacking reserves.

4.52pmSouthampton welcome star man Manolo Gabbiadini back into their starting lineup this afternoon following his recent spell on the sidelines with a groin injury, while Steven Davis is also back from an ankle complaint in midfield. In terms of Manchester City, they have four fresh faces in their starting XI from last weekend's win over Hull City, including a new central-defensive partnership.

Manolo Gabbiadini lies injured during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton on March 19, 2017© SilverHub


4.54pmIt has been a strange maiden campaign outside of his native French homeland for Puel, but ultimately one that can be looked back on as a success the way things are heading. The Saints were incredibly inconsistent in the opening two-thirds of the Premier League season, loitering in the bottom half for large parts, though their run to the EFL Cup final did paper over things slightly.

4.56pmThe Saints again had to adapt to losing key personnel last season, this time Sadio Mane to Liverpool and manager Ronald Koeman to Everton, but again they have done well thanks to this latest top-half finish. The bad news is that seven years of constant improvement, bettering their league finish year-on-year since promotion from League One, is likely to come to an end this time around as sixth place is out of reach.

4.58pmThings did look to be going south between late December into February, when focus was perhaps elsewhere with the semi-final and final of the EFL Cup to prepare for, and six losses in seven at the time saw them dragged into the relegation mix. Going down never appeared to be a serious threat for the Saints, in truth, yet an improvement was needed in the top flight if they were to prevent their campaign from completely petering out.

5.00pmPuel's men have taken 13 points from the last 18 on offer to ensure that the mood has improved, seeing them climb into their current standing of ninth place and just four points off West Brom - who they overcome 1-0 last weekend - with a couple of games in hand. The Saints' softly-spoken boss admitted earlier in the campaign to being frustrated by the stop-start nature of their league campaign, playing nine times between January 1 and April 1, but momentum is now on their side.

5.02pmDID YOU KNOW? Southampton's back-to-back wins over Crystal Palace and West Brom means that they can win three on the bounce under Claude Puel for the first time when Manchester City visit St Mary's Stadium this afternoon. The Saints have lost just one of their last six matches, compared to six defeats in their previous seven, though they have not beat any of the current top six in seven attempts this term.

5.04pmOvercoming the division's elite is the next step for Southampton if they are to continue climbing the table, with just the two points collected from 21 on offer against the top six - not good enough. To make matters worse for Puel, his side take on Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Man United, on top of today's home meeting with Man City, in their end-of-season run-in. They may have little to play for on the face of it, but they can prove a point across those remaining fixtures.

5.06pmSouthampton manager Claude Puel has guided his side to the final of the EFL Cup, where they narrowly lost to Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, and into the top half of the Premier League. The Saints lacked consistency for most of the opening three-quarters of the league campaign, particularly struggling between December and February, but they look good value to now finish in eighth place.

Claude Puel watches on during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton on March 19, 2017© SilverHub


5.08pmMan City make the trip south attempting to strengthen their grip on the top four, knowing that victory today will take them above Liverpool and into third place for at least the next 24 hours or so. Everton have climbed into fifth place with victory over Burnley elsewhere this afternoon, but they have played two games more than the Citizens, so it is Man United (sixth, 57 points) and Arsenal (seventh, 54 points) that Guardiola will be most wary of.

5.10pmGuardiola conceded after defeat to Chelsea just under a fortnight ago that the Premier League title is well out of reach for his side, confirming what many of us knew for months. The Blues have been very consistent, as have Tottenham for the past few months, while City have constantly thrown away points from promising positions, leaving them 14 adrift of top spot at this late stage in proceedings.

5.12pmThat loss at Stamford Bridge made it four games without a win for Guardiola's men, having drawn each of the previous three, but they did make amends somewhat seven days ago by picking up victory over strugglers Hull. It is fair to say that each of the four sides battling for those two remaining Champions League spots - Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Arsenal - have struggled for consistency since the turn of the year, meaning that even Everton are now in with a shot.

5.14pmVictory today will take City up to 19 for the season - the same amount managed under former boss Manuel Pellegrini in the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign. No Premier League team has found the back of the net more times than the Citizens in all competitions this term, meanwhile, with their tally of 101 matched only by Arsenal, who they face in next week's huge FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium.

5.16pmIn many ways, that meeting with Arsenal will go a long, long way to determining whether Guardiola's first season at the Etihad Stadium can be considered a success. A top-four finish and trophy in the bag would surely be a decent return in his maiden campaign on these shores, particularly with the promise of spending big to strengthen his squad in the summer. The Catalan has had his disappointments this term, granted, but he could still end it on a high.

5.18pmCity have lost just one game in their last 10, but too many draws in that run - much like rivals Man United, in many ways - has seen them stutter somewhat. There is a huge meeting with Man United on the horizon, coming fresh on the back of their trip to Wembley to face Arsenal, so picking up victory on the South Coast today would be the perfect way to prepare for a hugely important fortnight.

5.20pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! Southampton won 4-2 in this fixture last season to end a run of four-successive league defeats. The Saints have only actually lost two of their seven Premier League meetings with Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium, winning three and drawing two of those, but the Citizens have found the net in each of the last 11 meetings in all competitions - including October's 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

5.22pmWith kickoff at St Mary's Stadium now less than 10 minutes away, let us turn attention to some pre-match comments from both camps.

Claude Puel: "He was a young trainer [when we met in 2009], but his team was fantastic. We drew at home, and unfortunately lost 5-2 at Barcelona, but it was fantastic to see his team, his players. We can see all the teams trying to play like this, and have good possession. I have a lot respect for Pep."

Pep Guardiola: "Last week I decided for Claudio. Saturday I am going to decide. It depends on if the opponent makes a lot of high pressing or not. The way the opponent plays as well. What I see in the training session. I have confidence with both. We will see. It's my decision. I like both to be involved. I have confidence in both so we will see."


5.24pmPuel was talking there about 2009's Champions League quarter-final meeting between his Lyon side and Guardiola's Barcelona, who were very much in their prime at the time - one of the finest club sides to have ever been assembled. The Frenchman admits that he has a "lot of respect" for his opposite number, but it is fair to say that he would love to get one over on him in this teatime kickoff to cement his side's hopes of a top-10 finish.

5.26pmThe big topic of discussion for Guardiola heading into this match concerned his two goalkeepers, with Bravo ultimately getting the nod over Caballero once again. The former Barcelona man has simply not adapted well to English football since making a switch last summer and, with Joe Hart's future seemingly lying elsewhere, you have to wonder where Guardiola turns next. For now, Bravo must do.

5.28pmBoth sets of players are now out on the field of play at St Mary's Stadium, where we are just a couple of moments away from kickoff. Manchester City make four changes for their trip to the South Coast, bringing in Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi in the heart of defence, while Southampton bring Steven Davis and Manolo Gabbiadini into the fold as part of their two alterations from last time out.

Pep Guardiola watches on during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Burnley on January 2, 2017© SilverHub


1 minKICKOFF! We are up and running on the South Coast. The Saints are aiming to close the gap on the top eight with victory in this teatime kickoff, while City - with one win in their last five - have third place in their sights.

3 minCHANCES! A bright start to the contest for City, who have created a couple of openings inside the opening three minutes or so. Clichy sent in a decent ball at the end of a bright attack, but Aguero could not properly connect, while the striker then dragged wide from a promising position.

5 minAguero already showing early on that he is up for this one, constantly proving to his manager just why he deserves to be first choice up top when Gabriel Jesus returns to the reckoning. The Saints just finding their way at the moment.

7 minCity dominating possession in the opening seven minutes, seeing close to 70 per cent of the ball. The Saints looking fairly relaxed at the moment - maybe too relaxed, unable to get the ball into the feet of star man Gabbiadini.

9 minNavas flashes the ball into the feet of Silva between the lines, but it was near impossible for the little magician to control. Southampton more than happy to sit back and soak up this early pressure on home soil.

11 minThe hosts win back possession and look to play their way forward from the back through Davis, but the ball is soon lost and City come again. The pattern in this game has been set early on, though City have not made the possession count.

13 minCHANCE! Southampton put together their first attacking move of the much, quickly breaking and finding a way in behind through Gabbiadini down the left. The Italian pulls it back for Tadic 15 yards out, but he skies high over the bar.

15 minThat Tadic chance shows exactly why Southampton are so happy to sit deep. They will have countless chances to spring a counter against this City side, though they need to make their openings count if they are to pull off a big result.

17 minBravo takes a bit of a risk when the ball is played back to him by Navas. In the end the ex-Barcelona man was happy to blast it up the field, rather than playing it out from the back like he is instructed to by his manager.

19 minDe Bruyne with a teasing cross into the box, which Stephens got his head to first. The final ball just lacking quality at the moment from the Citizens' perspective, as the Saints have been fairly comfortable at the back.

21 minCity almost the victims of their own downfall - not for the first time this season - as Navas is unable to clear the ball under pressure and it deflects into the area. Gabbiadini flicked it on but there was nobody in red and white to pounce.

23 minSome nice football being played by the visitors, this time with the ball being slipped through down the left, but all they have to show for it is another corner. A lack of end product letting them down in the opening quarter of this match.

25 minCity have completed 216 passes in the opening 25 minutes of the match, compared to their opponents' tally of 78. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about how the two sides have lined up for this match.

27 minA couple of half-decent chances for Aguero very early on for City, but it is Southampton who have created the best opening since; Tadic blasting over unmarked when picked out inside the box by Gabbiadini.

29 minYELLOW CARD! Hojbjerg, who spent time under opposition boss Guardiola at Bayern Munich, catches Silva late and is rightly shown the first yellow of the contest by referee Neil Swarbrick. Walking a tightrope, etc, etc...

31 minForster still yet to make a save, while Bravo has also had a quiet shift at the opposite end. Southampton forming a very solid shape at the back and making it very tough for their opponents to get in behind too often.

33 minThe Saints get every player back behind the ball in attempt to frustrate City. As soon as the ball is won back the counter-attack is in motion, but Gabbiadini has not been picked out by his teammates all that often so far.

35 minCHANCE! City's best opening since the early stages, as Aguero this time turns provider by getting to the byline and lofting the ball towards Silva at the back stick. The Spaniard failed to find the target, which is most unlike him.

37 minPENALTY APPEAL! Leroy Sane is sent crashing to the ground under contact from Forster, but the referee felt that the ball was won first. No serious calls from City players but replays show that it was a stonewall penalty.

39 minCity denied a potential breakthrough goal by some poor refereeing, then, with Neil Swarbrick calling that one wrong. Southampton get bodies forward but Bertrand's cross is cut out by a visiting player before it reached its target.

41 minThe visitors continuing to see pretty much all of the ball in attacking areas, without doing a great deal with it. A couple of opportunities for Aguero and one for Silva, though they will also point to that incorrect penalty call.

43 minAguero is caught by Bertrand and stays down. Replays maybe make it look a lot worse than it was, with the English full-back raking his foot down the back of his opponent's calf. Physio on the field giving him some treatment.

45 minSilva picks up the ball in some space 20 yards from goal but drags it well wide of the target. We are now into two minutes of added-on time at St Mary's Stadium, where there is no real sign of a first-half breakthrough.

45+2 minHALF TIME: SOUTHAMPTON 0-0 MANCHESTER CITY

6.18pmReferee Neil Swarbrick, who wrongly denied Manchester City a penalty, brings the first half to a close. An uneventful opening 45 minutes overall, with Southampton mustering just the one real chance and the Citizens a few half-openings.

6.21pmFor just the sixth time this season in the Premier League, the opening 45 minutes saw zero shots registered on target at either end of the pitch. Sergio Aguero had a couple of half-chances in the opening stages, neither of which he could turn goalwards, while Dusan Tadic blasted over 15 yards out from a Manolo Gabbiadini pull-back.

6.24pmGabbiadini's return to the hosts' starting lineup following a recent spell on the sidelines was a major boost pre-match, as was the experience of Steven Davis in defensive midfield, but Southampton were more focused on sitting back than getting at their opponents. City were dominating possession but struggling to do too much with the ball, though that should have changed 35 minutes in when David Silva slotted wide after being spotted near the back post.

6.27pmThe only real talking point in a bland first half came shortly after that Silva miss, as Leroy Sane got in behind and was sent crashing to the ground by Fraser Forster, only for referee Neil Swarbrick to wrongly wave away his penalty appeals. Very little for the near-32,000 inside St Mary's Stadium to get too excited about so far, then, but that could all change after the interval.

SOUTHAMPTON SUBS: Clasie, Long, Rodriguez, Caceres, Martina, Boufal, Hassen

MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Caballero, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Fernando, Sterling, Garcia, Iheanacho

Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling in action during his side's Premier League clash with Hull City at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day© SilverHub


46 minRESTART! No Premier League team has scored more goals in all competition's than Manchester City's 101 this term, and they had also netted in their previous 10 meetings with Southampton, so the visitors will be confident of a breakthrough as we get back under way.

48 minNeither manager made a change to their personnel at the interval, incidentally, meaning that Aguero's injury clearly was not bad as many initially feared. Normal service resumed here as the Citizens dominate possession.

50 minSAVE! A first save of the contest for Forster, as he routinely gets behind Toure's shot and keeps a hold of it. Also a couple of attempts from leading forward Aguero, who was unable to match Toure in testing Forster.

52 minReferee Neil Swarbrick adjudges that Silva made too much contact with Davis to send him to the floor. Ward-Prowse takes on the free kick from 25 yards out, sending the ball curling well wide of the target. Bravo still yet to make a stop.

54 minCity have spent two minutes knocking the ball between midfield and defence, getting absolutely nowhere. They then finally realise that the ball needs to get forward, allowing Aguero to drift inside and win a free kick for his side.

55 minSAVE! Most exciting moment of the match so far as De Bruyne's half-cleared free kick is belted goalwards by Navas. It appeared to be a simply stop for Forster, but he was taking no chances and produced a save for the cameras.

56 minGOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 0-1 MANCHESTER CITY (VINCENT KOMPANY)

57 minMan City have the breakthrough goal at long last, thanks to a well-talen header from returning skipper Kompany. From the corner won by Forster's previous save, the Belgian climbed above Yoshida for his first goal in 20 months.

59 minSOUTHAMPTON SUB! Puel not hanging around, as he takes off Gabbiadini and Ward-Prowse and brings on Long and Boufal. Fresh legs up top and plenty of pace injected - will that be enough to trouble the City defence?

61 minKompany has only actually appeared 17 times in the league in the 20 months since his last goal. You could see the joy in the Belgian's face when celebrating with away fans, and he almost had another reason to cheer as De Bruyne has just sent a shot over the bar.

63 minCHANCE! Still City are dictating the flow of the game, coming close to a potentially killer second through Silva. De Bruyne's cross was parried by Forster, but Silva failed to beat the Englishman from the rebound.

65 minGood defensive clearance from Otamendi as Southampton now look to move out of first gear. The Saints came incredibly close to going two down a few moments ago, so can they use that as a warning to give more in an attacking sense?

67 minNavas, who is enjoying a run in the side at right-back, has picked up an injury that will likely see his evening cut short. Zabaleta has been sent to warm-up while the physios check out the damage to the Spaniard's calf.

69 minDespite knocking the ball out of play - usually a sign that a player cannot continue - Navas is now OK and the change is not required. A rare attack from the Saints breaks down when Tadic goes for a fancy flicked pass.

71 minAguero works a two-on-one position inside the area but cannot quite shake off Stephens, who produces a big interception to deny the striker from getting a shot away. City 20 minutes from a seventh away clean sheet of the season.

73 minSAVE! A real rarity, as the opposition get an attempt on target that City keeper Bravo keeps out! Central-defender Yoshida directs his back-post header goalwards but it was pretty much straight at the Chilean.

75 minNow into the final 15 minutes at St Mary's Stadium, where the game remains in the balance. Man City deserving of their lead, given to them by Kompany 20 minutes ago, but Southampton very much still in this one.

77 minGOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 0-2 MANCHESTER CITY (LEROY SANE)

78 minSouthampton's entire gameplan has been built around counter-attacking, but the best break of the match ends with City adding a second goal to their tally. De Bruyne is played clean through and unselfishly squares it for Sane, who slides the ball past Forster.

80 minGOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 0-3 MANCHESTER CITY (SERGIO AGUERO)

81 minAguero has his 11th goal in 11 outings, including in each of his last five outings, by powering a header past Forster. De Bruyne got to the byline and floated one into a dangerous position, where Aguero made sure he got his name to the ball.

83 minSUBS! This is an interesting one. Long is taken off after seemingly complaining about an injury, but his lack of handshakes with the coaching staff - and Puel's angry shake of the head - suggests a breakdown in communication. Long comes on, while Silva is replaced by Zabaleta.

85 minMANCHESTER CITY! Good defensive resilience from City, who look much more solid with Kompany in there. Sane has just been taken off, with Sterling introduced for the final five minutes of the contest on the South Coast.

87 minPretty much the Citizens' best away display of the season. The first half may have been bland but City were the better side, and they have proved it in the second 45 minutes with a few goals and a strong defensive display.

89 minFour minutes are going to be added on at St Mary's Stadium, as we play out the final 60 seconds of normal time. Southampton pressing for a consolation goal but, on the basis of the past 89 minutes, it probably will not arrive.

90+1 minCity happy to knock the ball around now to see out the final few minutes. City will end the day third in the table, seven points clear of Man United in the race for fourth after playing two games more than their rivals.

90+3 minFULL TIME: SOUTHAMPTON 0-3 MANCHESTER CITY

7.26pmThe full-time whistle is blown at St Mary's Stadium, meaning back-to-back wins for Manchester City as they see things through for a 3-0 victory. Southampton did not give the greatest account of themselves, in truth, testing the opposition keeper on just one occasion to remain ninth in the Premier League table. The Citizens, meanwhile, climb into third place.

7.28pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events on the South Coast. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while reaction from this and all the day's other games can be found elsewhere on the site in the coming hours. Thanks for joining!

Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring during the FA Cup quarter-final between Middlesbrough and Manchester City on March 11, 2017
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