MX23RW : Sunday, August 1 17:18:35| >> :120:12078:12078:
May 13, 2018 at 3pm UK at St Mary's Stadium
Attendance: 31,882
Southampton
0-1
Man CityManchester City
FT(HT: 0-0)
Jesus (90')

Preview: Southampton vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Manchester City's trip to St Mary's to face Southampton.

Southampton head in Sunday's Premier League clash with Manchester City knowing that their top-flight survival will be confirmed should they avoid a heavy defeat against the champions.

However, while the league title has already been wrapped up, Pep Guardiola's team remain motivated to record another victory in order to reach the 100-point mark for the campaign.


Southampton

Mark Hughes watches on during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Stoke City on May 6, 2017© SilverHub

Soon after Mark Hughes's arrival at St Mary's, there was an indication that a change in the dugout may not lead to Southampton securing safety in the top flight, but the Welshman deserves huge credit for turning things around on the south coast.

The demoralising 3-2 defeat to Chelsea - after holding a two-goal advantage - had the potential to leave Southampton accepting that this just was not their season but since the disappointment of that afternoon, eight points have been recorded from four matches.

The goalless draw at Leicester City was not pretty and Hughes was left furious after witnessing his team concede a last-gasp goal at Everton, but the two stalemates have proven decisive in their efforts to stay up.

That has been Hughes's sole objective and although Southampton are yet to mathematically get over the line, the 54-year-old has gone some way to restoring his reputation after a dismal first half of the campaign at Stoke City.

What Hughes must do now is convince his players to turn in one more strong performance. The celebrations at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday night suggested that many associated with the club believe the job is done, and that is a dangerous mindset ahead of welcoming the champions.

As much as Hughes stresses to the press that there will be no complacency, it is more about overcoming the fear of monumental failure and ensuring that conceding one goal does not quickly become three or four, like it did against Chelsea over an eight-minute spell.

The chances are that it will not. Not so long ago, Southampton conceded three goals in four successive matches but just two goals have been shipped in their last four outings in the top flight.

Southampton may have to get on the scoresheet at the other end to ease the nerves but if the team can come through the 90 minutes with their Premier League place still intact, it can lead to a stable future with Hughes at the helm.

Recent form: LLDWDW
Recent form (all competitions): LDLWDW


Manchester City

Pep Guardiola gesticulates during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Burnley on October 21, 2017© Offside

With their sole defeats coming in high-scoring clashes with Liverpool and Manchester United, it is a case of what could have been for Manchester City, but Guardiola's side remain on course to set a record which may never be broken.

Achieving 100 points over a 38-match campaign would come at an average of 2.63 points per game and given the increasingly competitive nature of England's top flight, it is difficult to see any club matching what City are on the brink of achieving this weekend.

Last weekend's goalless draw with Huddersfield Town prevented the North-West giants from reaching as high as 102 points but City still stand to break Chelsea's long-standing record by five points having already scored the most goals in a Premier League season.

Regardless of whether a 32nd success is recorded on Sunday, this City team will forever be remembered as one of the best ever in the history of English football, but Guardiola and his players will still hold the desire to cement their legacy in the record books as well as the memories of supporters.

City earned three points over Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday night and the evening will be remembered for being Yaya Toure's final appearance at the Etihad Stadium in a home shirt, but it will be business as usual on the south coast with Kevin De Bruyne being drafted back into the team.

Mohamed Salah has picked up each of the individual accolades but De Bruyne has been the difference between the title being won at a canter and under pressure from the chasing pack, and the Belgian playmaker deserves a chance to add to his eight goals and 15 assists for the Premier League campaign.

Guardiola may decide to continue with rotating the players who may feature at the World Cup, but the Spaniard will want to end the campaign in the same way that it started at Brighton in August and that is with a win and a clean sheet on the South coast.

Recent form: LWWWDW
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWDW


Team News

Kevin De Bruyne in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Leicester City on February 10, 2018© Offside

De Bruyne should find himself back in the City team after being given a rest in midweek, while goalkeeper Ederson is likely to return between the sticks.

Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi and Raheem Sterling all played no part on Wednesday evening and should find themselves back in contention at St Mary's.

Benjamin Mendy may also be handed his first start since recovering from a serious knee injury sustained soon after the start of the season.

As for Southampton, Hughes could opt to select the same XI which started the fixture in South Wales on Tuesday night, with Manolo Gabbiadini having to make do with a spot among the replacements.

If Hughes does make alterations, James Ward-Prowse and Shane Long will hope to find themselves back in the side.

Southampton possible starting lineup:
McCarthy; Bednarek, Stephens, Hoedt; Soares, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Bertrand; Tadic, Redmond, Austin

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, D.Silva, Sterling, Sane; Jesus


Head To Head

Sunday's meeting will represent the 88th competitive encounter between the two clubs and as it stands, both teams have recorded 31 wins apiece.

However, City have recorded nine victories from the last 13 contests, with Southampton prevailing just twice in all competitions since 2005.

The reverse fixture earlier in the season was fiercely contested, however, with only a late Raheem Sterling goal earning City a 2-1 triumph at the Etihad Stadium.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Southampton 0-3 Manchester City

There will surely only be one winner on Sunday afternoon. Regardless of Southampton's mentality heading into the match, City will be determined to end the season in perfect fashion and with the freedom to express themselves, we expect a routine win.



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Mark Hughes reacts during the Premier League game between Stoke City and Bournemouth on October 21, 2017
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Monday's key events


ATHLETICS
· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

SAILING
· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

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· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

CYCLING
· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

WEIGHTLIFTING
· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

HOCKEY
· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

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