Manchester City welcomed the Saints to the Etihad this Saturday in their 9th Premier League battle of the season. The blues had hoped to reach the top of the table before Arsenal play Liverpool on Sunday – it is still in the Gunners hands, however.
The City boys flew, scoring 4 goals and keeping a clean sheet, Southampton made it too easy for City with their highline looking like a Beluga Whales’ fod, it was surely only a matter of time before the blues took the lead.
Overall City dominated the game, with 66% possession, 21 shots to Southampton’s 5, and 8 shots of target and none on target from the Saints.
There were some raised eyebrows at 14:00 when the team sheet was released and after some brilliant MotM performances, Grealish had been dropped to the bench in favour of Mahrez; and it was a change that did pay off in the end.
Starting XI: Ederson, Akanji, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne (C), Silva, Foden, Mahrez and Haaland.
There were plenty of chances from the minute the game kicked off, with Cancelo, Mahrez, Foden and Haaland all getting in on the action. If there was one player that you thought wouldn’t miss a clear-cut chance, it’s the Norwegian, but he proved to the world of football that he is in fact human – WHAT?!
The first goal came in the 20th minute started by a line-breaking pass from a fouled Foden and some beautiful footwork down the left from Cancelo who blasted it into the bottom corner.
City went 2-0 up 12 minutes later and the young star boy, Foden, was involved again. This time getting the goal as he chipped the keeper after he received the ball from one of De Bruyne’s powerful runs through the centre.
De Bruyne is now Manchester City’s King of Assists, overtaking legend, David Silva. He now sits 5th in all time PL assists.
The blues went into the break 2 up, though Southampton did open City up just before the half-time whistle blew.
Mere minutes into the second half, City bagged their 3rd through a Mahrez volley at the back post. Plenty more chances fell for Manchester City throughout the second half, and the back 3 of Akanji, Dias and Ake held any sign of trouble off.
Foden was hooked just before the hour for Grealish who didn’t quite settle and didn’t look as composed as he has done in recent games. Nevertheless, to come on with the game already won is not an easy task.
As City were 3-0 up, the blues got their 4th from no other than the Nordic Meat Shield, the robot, the deportee; Erling Haaland. This was his 15th Premier League goal in 9 games.
Once the score line was 4-0 and comfortable, we saw the only hat-trick of the day as Pep made three substitutions, bringing off De Bruyne, Mahrez and Cancelo for Palmer, Alvarez and Gomez.
City played the rest of the game with complete control which allowed more minutes for another academy youngster, Rico Lewis, coming on for Silva. The younger side were impressive, maintained control of the game, though lacked the bite the starting XI had, understandably.
The final whistle blew, and the game was wrapped up at 4-0, with Cancelo voted MotM – thoroughly deserved.
Next up, the blues travel to Copenhagen for the return Champions League fixture – can City get another win?