MX23RW : Wednesday, June 23 02:43:35| >> :120:12904:12904:
Feb 9, 2013 at 5.30pm UK at St Mary's Stadium
Man CityManchester City
Davis (22'), Puncheon (7'), Barry (48' og.)
FT(HT: 2-1)
Dzeko (39')

Live Commentary: Southampton 3-1 Manchester City - as it happened

Find out how Manchester City were toppled 3-1 by Southampton with Sports Mole's live commentary.

Manchester City travelled to Southampton today requiring all three points to put pressure on leaders Manchester United.

However, what followed was arguably one of Southampton's best performances of the season. They were two up early on through Jason Puncheon and Steven Davis, although that lead was halved before the break thanks to Edin Dzeko.

An own goal by Gareth Barry shortly after the restart restored Southampton's two-goal advantage though and they held on to that until the end of the encounter.

You can find out how the match unfolded with our minute-by-minute commentary below.

Afternoon all. It doesn't get much better than a Premier League match between two teams that need the points for very different reasons and that is what we've got here - Southampton fighting off relegation against title hopefuls Manchester City.

Before we get into all the pre-match chat, statistics and my shocking predictions, let's bring you the team news from the South Coast...

SOUTHAMPTON X1: Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox; Cork, Schneiderlin, Puncheon, Davis; Rodriguez, Lambert

It's a positive starting lineup for Southampton, who include both Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez as strikers. The bad news for the Saints is that Luke Shaw has failed to shake off an injury to start though. His place has been given to Danny Fox, who has featured at left-back over the last couple of weeks.

MAN CITY X1: Hart; Zabaleta, Garcia, Lescott, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry, Nasri, Silva; Aguero, Dzeko

The big news for the champions is that Yaya Toure is back from the Africa Cup of Nations and starts here. He has come into the midfield, while Javi Garcia continues to cover the absence of captain Vincent Kompany at centre-back. Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko will form the striking partnership.

Yaya Toure's return really is a big plus for City. He may not have been at his very best this season, but his presence has been missed over the last month. You could see that massively during last weekend's match with Liverpool. The likes of Steven Gerrard and Lucas were able to boss proceedings, which may not have happened had the big Ivorian been around.

As mentioned in the introduction, this is such an important match for the visitors. I'd go as far as saying it is their biggest game of the Premier League season to date. If they were to lose to Southampton and United defeat Everton tomorrow, they would be 12 points behind with 12 encounters to play. While nothing is impossible, particularly after last season, that looks too big of a deficit to bridge.

It's not all about the visitors though because Southampton have their own needs. They are currently three points above the drop zone, so another win today would give them some vital breathing space. It will also mean that Pochettino has claimed his first win in charge - something that is vital for any new manager.

A lot of people believe that Southampton have actually played better under their new gaffer than the results suggest. Skipper Rickie Lambert has also been impressed:

"The new manager has been great and you can see since he has come to the club he wants to make things happen," he told The Sun.

"The chairman is very ambitious and Southampton is going to be a very exciting place to be over the next few years.

"It is not unrealistic to try and challenge for the top four over the next three years. That is what we have to aim for. Three years ago a lot of people would have laughed in our faces if we had said we'd be in the Premier League."

Although the results haven't been going their way recently, the history books when it comes to this fixture are in Southampton's favour. These two sides have met on 38 occasions on the South Coast, with the Saints winning 18 of those. In contrast, City have mustered 10 victories.

Having said that, they've only recorded one win over City at the St Mary's Stadium - which they moved into back in 2001. There has been three meetings in total at their new home, with both teams winning a game apiece and a 0-0 draw being played out in October 2004.

Forgetting history and looking to the here and now, City make the trip to Southampton with one of the best away records in the Premier League this season. They've lost just once from 12 matches - winning six. Only Chelsea and Man United boast better records away from home than that.

While we are here, let's just take a look who has been selected for both benches.

SOUTHAMPTON: K. Davis, Forren, Ward-Prowse, Lee, Lallana, Richardson, Chaplow

MAN CITY: Pantilimon, Kolo Toure, Kolarov, Maicon, Rodwell, Sinclair, Milner

So, where is Carlos Tevez I hear you ask? Well, no idea! He is not in Southampton, that's for sure. The rumour coming from the ground is that he has been given the day off for family reasons. It's doubtful that he would started anyway because he has found himself among the substitutes in recent weeks.

His absence does make that City bench look a little short in terms of goalscoring options though. Scott Sinclair is the most advanced player on there and he has barely been used since his switch from Swansea City. Perhaps they shouldn't have parted with Mr Balotelli after all.

Right then, the players are preparing to emerge. There's a decent atmosphere on the South Coast. You get the impression that everybody connected knows how important this one is. Three points for either could really change their seasons.

Here we go! Southampton, kicking from right to left, get this match started at a wet and windy St Mary's Stadium. Game on...

It's been a positive start for the hosts, who are looking lively. It seems as though they are going to test Javi Garcia, who is not a routine centre-back. A few high balls have been slung his way, but they've been dealt with so far.

GOAL! Southampton 1-0 Man City (Puncheon)

Man City trail in a match that they can't afford to lose and in all honesty, it was all their own fault. Gareth Barry gave the ball away inside his own half and the Saints break. The ball falls to Rodriguez, but his shot is blocked by Joe Hart. However, Jason Puncheon is following in and rolls the ball into an empty. Now we have a game on our hands.

Puncheon looks to have been given a buzz by his goal. Although he is naturally left-footed, he is playing on the right hand side at the moment and is causing Gael Clichy no end of problems. Every time Southampton get the ball, they are looking to play in the winger.

City are finally beginning to impose themselves on this match. They haven't called Artur Boruc into action, but they are now stroking the ball around. There is no doubt that they have been rocked by the early Southampton goal. They've got to settle soon because the Saints still dangerous.

First real sight of goal for City as Aguero breaks into the right hand side of the penalty area. The Argentine looked to be in two minds as to whether he should shoot or cross, so in the end he did neither and the ball drifted well wide of danger. Better from the away side though.

GOAL! Southampton 2-0 Man City (Davis)

What an earth have you done Joe Hart? Dear oh dear. Lambert cut inside Clichy to fire straight at the Man City keeper, who should have held with ease. The ball squirms out of his grasp and through his legs though and Steven Davis reacts quickest to poke the ball into a unguarded net. The champions grip on their title is loosening at the moment. There is still a long way to go here though.

Another opportunity goes a begging for City as Aguero strikes his free kick from 25 yards out straight into the Southampton wall. For all their possession, the visitors have done very little with it so far.

Full-back Pablo Zabaleta has looked City's best attacking threat at times and he has just gone close to halving the deficit. It was probably a cross from the Argentine, but it was overhit and almost caught out Bourc. Thankfully for the Southampton goalkeeper, the ball skipped just wide of upright.

Southampton's work-rate has been incredible thus far. They are not letting City settle on the ball and continue to regain possession from the likes of Barry, who cannot deal with their pace. Whether they can keep this up for the 90 remains to be seen.

GOAL! Southampton 2-1 Man City (Dzeko)

I said Zabaleta had been good going forward and he has proved me right just now. Following a Southampton corner, City clear the danger a pour forward. The ball eventually finds Zabaleta out on the right, who drills in a low cross for Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian is slipping as he shoots, but the ball loops up over Boruc into the net. City are back in this in a big way.

There will be two minutes of stoppage time here...

PENALTY APPEAL! Big shout from Southampton as Rodriguez goes down on the byline under a challenge from Yaya Toure. The referee gives it a long hard look before awarding a corner. Not sure how he came to that conclusion because Toure didn't touch the ball! The foul is up for debate though. He was leaning into the Southampton striker, but he did go down easy. It could easily have been given - they been before.

HALF-TIME: Southampton 2-1 Man City

Well, for 38 minutes Southampton were perfect. They attacked with menace and looked water-tight at the back. However, that goal from Dzeko has changed everything. City looked a different side after their goal and you'd have to expect them to come out firing after the restart. It's an important half-time team talk for both managers.

It's highly unlikely that either manager will make a change at the break, unless there is an injury of course. Despite the late City goal, Pochettino will probably be happy with his Southampton players. The way that they are attacking, they have a good chance of scoring again after break. Keeping them out at the other end may prove a trickier task.

Gary Lineker has been talking about that penalty incident at the end of the first half on Twitter: "Referee??? We think penalty. You?"

Have to say, having seen a couple of replays, it looks a penalty. Toure played none of the ball and put his body weight into Rodriguez. Yes he went down easy, but what striker doesn't in the Premier League these days?

Anyway, back to the action. City get a big second half for them started...

GOAL! Southampton 3-1 Man City (Barry, OG)

For want of a better phrase, Gareth Barry has had an absolute stinker tonight. What is going through his mind? The ball gets played across the City box, which Barry meets facing his own goal. He has time, but instead of clearing he tries to play the ball back to Hart and only succeeds in planting the ball into the bottom corner of the net. That's one of the most bizarre own goals you'll see this season! Southampton are in control again.

BOOKING! Clichy is the first to see a yellow card as he gets his name taken for pulling the shirt almost off Puncheon's back. The Southampton winger has given him a torrid evening so far.

SAVE! What a stop from Boruc. Barry finally gets something right as he lifts the ball over the Southampton defence for Aguero, who takes aim from eight yards out. The ball looked to be heading for the far corner, but the Polish keeper threw himself to his left to push clear the danger.

SUBSTITUTION: Samir Nasri has not had a great season for City, has he? It has continued today as he is replaced early in this second half by James Milner. The Frenchman doesn't look happy, but he can't have any complaints because his performance hasn't been up to scratch.

With just seen footage of a Man City fan praying. Having seen Toure send a shot from distance up into row Z, the away side need a lot of help from the man upstairs if they are to get anything out of this one. There's still plenty of time, but it's looking bleak.

SUBSTITUTION: The impressive Puncheon is handed a well earned breather, but the Saints are no weaker for his departure. On in his place is club captain Adam Lallana, who has just returned to the squad following a leg injury.

SUBSTITUTION: It looks as though City will now go to three at the back as Joleon Lescott is replaced by Aleksandar Kolarov. The Serbian will more than likely play as a wing-back, with Clichy moving into a more central defensive role.

As it stands, and I don't want to tempt fate Southampton fans, your team are looking comfortable. They are keeping the ball extremely well, but when the danger needs clearing, it is done so with minimal fuss. Of course a goal for City changes everything and as they showed in the first half, they are more than capable of scoring out of the blue.

BOOKING! Yaya Toure is the second City player to go into the book as he brings down Morgan Schneiderlin just inside the Southampton half. However, as referee Martin Atkinson points out, the card is for numerous offences during the match.

SUBSTITUTION: An ankle injury forces Danny Fox off and Southampton don't have Luke Shaw on the bench to fill in at left-back. As a result, Frazier Richardson has been readied and will go to right-back, with Clyne switching sides.

SUBSTITUTION: Last roll of the dice from Mancini as he sends on Brazilian full-back Maicon. He has replaced David Silva, who we've barely seen tonight. It was a really quiet performance from the pint-sized Spaniard.

SAVE! Half a chance for Southampton as Kolarov gets down to the left byline, before drilling in a cross. There's a moment of pinball, before Boruc leaps on the ball to end the danger. That was really brave goalkeeping from the Pole.

SUBSTITUTION: Game over for goalscorer Davies, who is given a breather. He is replaced by 18-year-old James Ward-Prowse, who is highly rated at the St Mary's Stadium.

Fair play to the Southampton because in their position there must be a big temptation to just clear the ball as far as possible. Instead, they are knocking the ball around and the City players are chasing shadows. The fans are even getting involved and chant 'ole' every time a pass is completed.

Michael Owen on Twitter: "Looking like the result of the weekend here. The Saints go marching on while City look to have handed United the title."

Southampton have five minutes of stoppage time to see off before they can celebrate what will be a famous victory...

It's just not happening for City. They look out of ideas and pretty clueless in the final third. Southampton are just defending with two banks of four and look solid. They should hold on here.

FULL TIME: Southampton 3-1 Man City

All the talk will be about the title race after this but Southampton won't care one bit. They are six points clear of relegation trouble after a terrific performance in which they outplayed the champions for large parts. Where City go from here will depend a lot on the outcome of United's match against Everton tomorrow.

That's all we have time for from St Mary's. Thanks for joining us on Sports Mole and stick around for our analysis of the match, which will be with shortly.

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