City look to get back on track against high flying Southampton
Blues looking for seventh win in last eight matches versus the Saints
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Getting back on track
Manchester City hopes to get its Premier League title hopes back on track when they battle Southampton Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side is coming off successive draws against West Brom (1-1) and Man United (0-0).
Those draws have put them behind in the chase for the Premier League title.
Heading into Saturday’s match the big question on the minds of City fans is the health of striker Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine played 14 minutes in mid-week and his manager Pep Guardiola says his status for Saturday is up in the air.
“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,” says Guardiola.
Not having him in the lineup would be a psychological blow for City given his track record against the Saints.
Aguero’s been involved in 10 goals against Southampton in his last 10 matches against them.
Eric Garcia and Oleksandr Zinchenko are likely scratches for City.
For the Saints, Ralph Hasenhuttl has a relatively healthy team.
Nathan Redmond came on as a substitute in the draw with Arsenal on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, defender Mohammed Salisu still looks for his first start since transferring from Real Valladolid in the summer.
Despite their recent setbacks the Blues continue to earn points and are riding a seven-match unbeaten run across all competitions.
Southampton has shown they belong near the top of the table with their play throughout the season.
Since losing its opening two fixtures the Saints have only lost once in their last 11.
The Saints have seven points in their last three fixtures.
Setting some goals
Scoring goals has been a problem all season for City.
They’ve scored a goal or less in seven of their 12 matches in the Premier League.
Southampton’s been in a real scoring mood of late.
Ten different Saints players have gotten their names on the scoresheet this season.
Danny Ings leads the way with six but this is very much a side that does its scoring by committee.
The Saints are third in goals this season with 25.
At home is where Southampton seems to do most of its damage.
They’ve scored at least twice in each of their last seven Premier League matches at St. Mary’s Stadium.
On the other hand, City’s not scored more than once on the road in the Premier League all season.
They’re also carrying a two-match goalless streak away from home into Saturday’s game.
Head to Head
A win on Saturday would mark the first time Southampton’s won back-to-back games against the Blues since May 2003.
Last season’s 1-0 win by the Saints ended a six-game winning streak for the Citizens against them.
It’s also the first time City’s been shutout in its last 16 matches versus Southampton.
Pep Guardiola’s been very critical of the early start times in the Premier League.
Saturday’s match is a matinee affair, something City’s thrived off of particularly away from home.
City’s won its last 11 EPL matches away from home that start at 3 pm.
While most people around this time of year have their eyes on Christmas the Saints seem to stay focused.
In its last two seasons, Southampton has won their last fixture before the Christmas break.
City meanwhile has won only twice in their last 16 Premier League matches before Christmas when that match is away from home.
Where they sit
City’s last two draws have them playing catch-up once again.
Currently sitting in ninth place City is eight points behind league leaders, Liverpool, with a game in hand.
Southampton is third just four points from the top spot with 24 points from 13 games.
When it comes to scoring goals City manager Pep Guardiola says his side needs to keep plugging away.
“Insist, insist, and insist. If 25 shots is not enough, we have to create more. Be positive and one day we will break,” says Guardiola.
“When we win and score goals, confidence will be there. We have to score more, this is reality.”
The Spaniard says Southampton’s strong form this season is no fluke.
“Southampton for many many years have been working well – so no surprise. But it’s a challenge and we will see what happens.”
Saturday’s game from St. Mary’s Stadium kicks off at 3 pm. (JSL).