After Southampton’s embarrassing point at Arsenal, you’d be hard stuck to make them underdogs here, alright. I jest.
But it’s worth a thought – if Southampton can compete at the top end now, what’s actually stopping them from getting a result at home to a team that are every bit as inconsistent as Manchester City? That exact inconsistency.
If Man City were the average of the sum of their performances to this point, they’d more resemble early ‘90s Niall Quinn and Paolo Wanchope after a night on the beer as a dual attacking threat.
Saturday 3pm: Southampton v Man City
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But the issue with them is – and Liverpool fans need to block their ears for this one – they’re still the best side in the country, whatever way you want to slice it up. The only issue with that is, it’s in a handful of games now rather than a slight variation of their peak every single week.
If they turn up here, Southampton haven’t a prayer. Luckily for the Saints, City rarely show their brilliance and they need to be better than average to beat this new-look, well-drilled Big Ralph XI. Wreck It Ralph, indeed. But will he? Here are your three best bets ahead of this intriguing tie.
There are too many opportunities for both sides to convert in this matchup, and that’s including if the game falls into an unexpected lull from open play. Honestly, there might not be a matchup in the division that features a higher probability of a free-kick being scored when you consider Kevin de Bruyne and James Ward-Prowse are lining up opposite each other.
But forget that even – City’s back four have been leaking as of late, either due to a lack of concentration, a lack of consistency in personnel. This gives the busiest player in the Premier League, Che Adams, a chance to press and force a not-quite-as-confident City to play out from the back.
I don’t need to explain to you why City can contribute to this goal tally, either – if they click, they could hit four by themselves. This should be a cracker and Over 3.5 Goals could be a smart play.
I previously alluded to KDB’s ability from dead ball situations, but it’s also worth noting that City are rediscovering their love for popping inside a full back and pulling back to the edge of the box – their most common go-to when they notched 100 points a few years ago.
The Belgian has long-been a primary beneficiary of these pull-backs and he can stake his claim in this one as Southampton to tend to focus too much on the ball when it’s in their final third, rather than the runners off it. Do that against City and you can say goodnight which is why Kevin de Bruyne to Score Anytime is so appealing.
I know this Manchester City (-1) is a strange pick given how much I like Southampton and have spoken to their chances of taking something here, but the most likely outcome, as the prices will tell you, is a City win – and the one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that, if City win, it won’t be by a single goal.
Things will have to go right for them. And generally, when things go right for them, they score a basket full.
Southampton v Man City tips
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