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Southampton vs Manchester City at St. Mary's Stadium

FT
St. Mary's Stadium Referee : Paul Tierney
30th December 2018 2:15 PM (GMT)
  • 1 Southampton

    • ‘37' Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
  • 3 Manchester City

    • ‘10' David Silva
    • ‘45' James Ward-Prowse (OG)
    • ‘45'+3' Sergio Agüero

#mancity

Commentary By Caroline Oatway

17:27

For the final time in 2018...

That's all from me, folks.

Thanks as ever for joining me for today's game - fantastic to end what has been such a truly incredible year on a high.

Stay tuned to mancity.com for more reaction and highlights (from midnight tonight).

Wishing you a very Happy New Year from all at the Club.

See you again on Thursday 3 January for you-know-what...

16:30

Kompany on Liverpool game:

"The same as always, we want to win.

"It is one of those key games you live for.

"Every living soul that comes into the stadium on Thursday has to be ready to fight and give it to them, and we should be able to pull everything out of the locker for that game."

16:30

Kompany:

"It can't always go our way. When another team is doing well and you're a little bit on the ropes, you have to find some fighting spirit - something that drives you.

"I can't predict the result but I can predict how I'll approach the game and how we're gearing up for it. I hope the fans will fight for this one as much as we will.

"The belief is always there. For our first league title, we were eight points behind with six games to go. If anyone is having doubts, they're not at the right club."

16:29

Raheem Sterling

"Our last two results were difficult to take and I thought we bounced back brilliantly today.

"The last three games we have started well and scored the opening goal, and then we have been sloppy, but our mentality was good today and we showed a good fighting spirit."

16:19

Vincent Kompany

"it was crucial but we ought to be happy about more than the result -we dominated the game.

"We shouldn't focus on just the three points. If we reach our level, we know we're a good team.

"We were hungry and aggressive. We've been hit in our pride over the last few weeks and it's about the way the team has to react.

"It's all to play for but it depends on us. It's a step in the right direction."

16:13

Pivotal win

Imperative we gained three points today and we did it.

Not entirely comfortable bust a much-improved performance than those of recent weeks - plenty of glimpses of the fluid, attack-minded City we know and love. Definitely more solid at the back too.

Perfect timing ahead of Thursday's top-of-the-table clash...

92'

FULL-TIME

The referee brings the game to a close and City bounce back to winning ways with an excellent 3-1 win over Southampton.

All of the goals netted in the first half - the opener from David Silva, cancelled out by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before a Ward-Prowse own-goal and Sergio Aguero header sealed the points for the Blues.

CRUCIAL. Get in there!

Open
80'

Mahrez chance!

Wonderful opportunity for the Algerian. He bears down on goal, having been played through well by Gabriel Jesus - but fires straight at McCarthy!

65'

No penalty!

The referee waves away the protests after Sterling goes down under Ramsey's challenge. Didn't look to be too much in it but there was contact.

64'

Good defending

City break from midfield and Sterling drives a low delivery to the backpost where Aguero awaits. He slides in but Ward-Prowse is there to block.

Open
55'

McCarthy saves again!

Should have been four... Gorgeous from David Silva to slide Sterling through. The winger opts to fire to the near post and it's saved by McCarthy's head!

52'

Almost!

Excellent from Sterling, who sprints clear of his man and crosses for Aguero. Again, it's nipped away in the nick of time (as far as Southampton are concerned) as Aguero readies himself to strike.

47'
HT

My word.

What a finale - it's been a great game of football, it has to be said.

End-to-end, plenty of action and - as of the last few moments - plenty of goals.

A superb start from the Blues was rewarded with David Silva's opener but Southampton clawed themselves back into the contest, as Hojbjerg capitalised on a defensive mistake.

A stroke of good fortune restored City's lead and we created some much-needed breathing space with that Aguero header on the stroke of half-time.

(I'm going for a quick lie down!)

46'

A stroke of luck!

YESSSSS!!!!

Sterling at the by-line with the cut-back and it deflects in at the near post off Ward-Prowse!

Good fortune but who cares?!

42'

Eeeek!

Screams for a penalty from the home side, as Ward-Prowse goes to ground under pressure from Zinchenko.

The referee is disinterested. The contact was minimal to be honest.

38'

Point proven

34'

Stoppage

Break in play here as Bernardo is down with blood pouring from just above his eye.

Should be fine to carry on but of course, he needs treatment.

30'

Outrageous from Ederson!

My heart just stopped.

Our Brazilian just received the ball about two yards from his own goalline. Under pressure from Hojbjerg he opted to nick the ball past him.

Of course, Ederson pulled it off - cool as you like - but he was the calmest man in the stadium I assure you!

27'

City spark

The Blues are really fired up for this one - chasing every man, putting Southampton under immediate pressure and first to every loose ball.

Open
26'

Great save!

McCarthy somehow denies Aguero from point-blank range!

Superb from Ferna to slide through to Sterling. He cut across to the Argentine, who did everything right, but the Saint stopper's foot blocked the way!

22'

Lovely

City displaying some of the rapid, attacking play we've been misisng over the past few weeks.

Aguero and Danilo there with a quick 'two-two' but it's cleared just as the shot was being lined up.

Open
19'

ARGH!

Great chance for Mahrez, who sprints forward from the wing into a shooting position but curls wide!

Outrageous counter-attack, that - it started with City playing one-touch five-a-side in our own penalty area!

10'

What a beautifully-crafted goal!

Lovely interchange between Bernardo and Mahrez down the right and the Portugal man runs to the by-line before cutting back for his namesake with a poked cross to the penalty spot.

This time, David makes no mistake with the finish!

GET IN THERE!!!

8'

What a let-off!

Wonderful play by Southampton, as Austin is put through with a clipped ball over the top.

Fortunately for us, his touch is strong and Ederson is out to gather.

A warning!

Open
5'

How did he not score there?!

Great chance for David Silva, as Sterling does well to win back possession in the area.

The winger cuts back for the Spaniard who opts to curl rather than drive the ball and McCarthy makes the save.

2'

Bright start

Early venture into the Saints penalty area as Mahrez collects. His cross is deflected wide for a corner.

The set-piece comes to nothing but a positive opening. Out of the blocks.

14:13

Here we go!

Out they come for the final time in 2018...

City in our dark striped away kit; Southampton of course in their traditional red and white.

Handshakes done, now for the main event...

14:05

Saints threat

Undoubtedly buoyed by Leicester and Crystal Palace’s successes, Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has urged his side to be ‘uncompromising’ against City, with many predicting a Blues backlash.

Of course, we boast a fine recent record against the south coast side but the Saints have experienced an upturn in fortunes since the arrival of Hasenhuttl, notably defeating Arsenal 3-2 on home soil a matter of weeks ago with their first triumph over a top six side in 30 attempts.

The home side will be just as desperate for three points, currently sitting three points above the relegation zone after Thursday’s defeat to West Ham.

City can take encouragement from the fact the Saints have dropped 15 points from winning positions in the league – the most of any top-flight side – but hopefully, we will not find ourselves trailing!

13:48

Guardiola (on team selection):

"(Fernandinho, Vincent Kompany and David Silva) are important players with a lot of experience.

"Vinny was injured for the last two weeks - Dinho as well. They came back and David too.

"I decided this line-up, compared with changes from the last games - what was the best for today."

13:46

Pep Guardiola:

"It doesn't matter what happened (before). The reaction of the players is always good.

"I have been in this situation in my career before many times - not only this once.

"You have to work and try to come back. Sometimes in sport, you are top, sometimes you are at the bottom and sometimes you are in the middle - it's part of the game.

"I didn't think from the beginning about the focus to be Champions. We have to try to win the next game - that is what we have to try to do.

"We are here and we have to try to make a good game. We need points, we have to try to make a good game and we will see after."

13:39

Riyad Mahrez:

"We just have to play as we always try to do. We know its going to be tough.

"We lost the last two games but we can bounce back today. I think we have the personality and the courage to come back.

"You always have something to prove - every game. It's normal but we’re going to take each game as it comes.

"We know we lost two games. It's behind us. We have to focus on this one and try to win.

"To be honest, we have to win every game if we want to be up there. Liverpool have taken an advantage but the season is still long.

"We have to focus on this game first, try to win it, make a good performance and then we will see."


13:34

O Captain, my Captain

Welcome back, Vincent Kompany!

Our skipper's return is a timely one, with many of you suggesting City have lacked leadership in recent weeks due to the absence of key names.

If there's a man to step up and guide the side through a difficult time, it's Vinny - and it's no secret we need to tighten things up at the back. 

After registering a run of six successive league shut-outs, City’s defence has been uncharacteristically leaky, with the Blues astonishingly having failed to keep a clean sheet in our last nine matches in all competitions.

Oddly, December’s three league defeats have heralded opposition goals from their first shots on target, while we have struggled to create in the final third at the other end.

With Southampton somewhat revitalised in attack, netting seven league goals in four matches under Ralph Hasenhuttl (as many as they had bagged in their previous ten fixtures combined), a clean sheet could prove the difference today.

13:20

Club journalist Rob Pollard on City's team news:

"Fernandinho is back in the Manchester City starting line-up after missing the last three matches through injury.

"The Brazilian’s most recent appearance came in the 3-1 win over Everton and his return will bring additional strength and protection in front of the back four.

"However, Kevin De Bruyne, who only recently returned to fitness after a six-week layoff, is out. David Silva, a substitute at the King Power Stadium, comes in for the Belgian. 

"Fabian Delph is suspended after his red card in the defeat to Leicester and is replaced at left-back by Oleksandr Zinchenko, Vincent Kompany makes his first start since the win at Watford at the start of December.

"City, as ever, will play a 4-3-3 formation. Danilo continues at right-back, with Kompany and Aymeric Laporte at the heart of the defence.

"Fernandinho will anchor the midfield, while our two Silvas pull the strings just in front of him.

"And up top, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling will provide width, with Sergio Aguero once again the man operating through the middle."

12:57

Stat City

City have won our last four Premier League fixtures against Southampton by an aggregate score of 12-2 but we have never won five in a row against Saints in the Premier League.

The Blues are unbeaten all but one of our last 11 Premier League meetings with the Saints (W8, D2).

Surprisingly, we haven’t scored in the final game of a calendar year since 2014 (a 2-2 draw with Burnley), with our last victory a 1-0 triumph against Crystal Palace in December 2013.

12:40

Target man

Sergio Aguero is two goals short of another remarkable milestone – 250 career goals.

The Argentine ace is enduring an unusual wait for accomplishment, having last found the net in the 2-2 draw away at Lyon.

Bizarrely, he has not scored in the Premier League away from home on English soil for more than 13 months (although he has of course bagged in other competitions) so to achieve his ‘Sestercentennial’ feat on the final day of the year would deliver a welcome tonic at the perfect time.

Southampton also perhaps provide the ideal opponents for Kun, with the forward having claimed four goals and four assists in eight Premier League meetings with the Saints, including one in the last encounter – a storming 6-1 triumph at the Etihad Stadium. Same again, please?

12:32

Injury boost?

It's no coincidence that City’s recent dip in form has concurred with December’s injury woes but hopefully, those absentees are closing in on full returns.

Pep Guardiola revealed he would make a decision on Fernandinho, Vincent Kompany and Gabriel Jesus today, after the trio trained on Saturday afternoon, while David Silva made a gradual entrance in Wednesday’s defeat to Leicester, coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes.

Should the quartet be declared fit for contention, the Blues would be handed a timely boost – and a potentially pivotal one, at that.

12:24

Final hurrah

After our recent run of results, it’s difficult to remember just how remarkable this year has been.

This year has produced incredible achievements, unforgettable memories and ultimately, a season we’ll never forget.

It would be a shame to end such a momentous 12 months on a low note and of course, it’s crucial we bounce back from our third league defeat in four to keep ourselves in with a chance to retain our Premier League title.

A victory at Southampton would provide the perfect pick-me-up, particularly with next week’s visit of Liverpool looming, as well as a fittingly positive end to an incredible year.

12:16

A very good afternoon from St Mary's!

There are just under two hours to go until kick-off for our 2018 finale... how are you feeling, Blues?

Given yesterday's results, there's no shying away from the fact this one is a must-win.

Are you confident? Nervous? Still feeling bloated from too many dips into the Quality Street tin?

(Personally, I'm all of the above).

Other games that day

  • Burnley2
    West Ham United0
    FT
  • Crystal Palace0
    Chelsea1
    FT
  • Manchester United4
    Bournemouth1
    FT

As it stood

P GD Pts
1 Liverpool 20 +40 54
3 Tottenham Hotspur 20 +22 45
4 Chelsea 20 +22 43
5 Arsenal 20 +12 38
6 Manchester United 20 +9 35
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 0 29
8 Leicester City 20 +1 28
9 Watford 20 -1 28
10 Everton 20 +1 27
11 West Ham United 20 -3 27
12 Bournemouth 20 -9 26
13 Brighton and Hove Albion 20 -5 25
14 Crystal Palace 20 -9 19
15 Newcastle United 20 -12 18
16 Cardiff City 20 -19 18
17 Southampton 20 -17 15
18 Burnley 20 -22 15
19 Fulham 20 -25 14
20 Huddersfield Town 20 -23 10
Link To Full Table