Sterling hoping to cash in against Southampton


Raheem Sterling will hope to continue his fine form against Southampton and prevent his Manchester City side from losing further ground on table-toppers Liverpool when they travel to St. Mary’s on Sunday. The English forward has been involved with ten goals in his last ten appearances against the south coast side, scoring six and assisting a further four.

Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhuttl has given a new lease of life to the club since his arrival. The Austrian recorded a memorable 3-2 win over Arsenal before downing Huddersfield Town 3-1. Despite a recent loss to West Ham, there is belief that Hassenhuttl is the man to take them forward, with his integration of academy players a highlight for those in the stands.

Pep Guardiola will be hoping his side can put the Saints to the sword and bounce back after a poor run of form has left them 10 points behind league leaders Liverpool. Two consecutive losses to Crystal Palace and Leicester City have highlighted the issues Man City have when without midfield general Fernandinho.

Hassnhuttl is blessed with the return of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from suspension, the Danish midfielder has already proved to be an integral part of the system Southampton wish to implement, his high octane style of play setting the precedent for his teammates. Captain Ryan Bertrand is still missing with a back injury, whilst young forward Micheal Obafemi is out with a hamstring problem.

Mario Lemina also faces a late fitness test after abdominal issues since that West Ham defeat.

Manchester City meanwhile have a number of injury concerns. Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus all face fitness tests at this late stage to determine their involvement at St Mary’s. Whilst Kevin De Bruyne is expected to miss the match with a knock, long term absentees Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo are still on the road to recovery.

Southampton will hope to get at the Manchester City defence, hoping their pressing style can cause mistakes in the back line. They will need to be clinical with the chances created if they are to get anything out of this game, relying on their in form striker Danny Ings to do the damage in front of goal.

Manchester City know they have the upper hand in terms of ability, but application has been an issue in recent weeks, Aguero has 8 goals in his 15 league matches this season, but has failed to score since the 3-1 win over Manchester United in early November.

Prediction: Southampton 1-3 Manchester City


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