Saint’s unbeaten home form destroyed by City
Manchester City took all three points at Saint Mary’s Stadium today, as they beat Ronald Koeman’s Southampton 0-3 away, ending the Saints unbeaten home form.
It turned out to be a dramatic second half in a clash between two teams who are fighting to keep up with Chelsea on top of the Premier League table. Today’s match would show if Southampton were legitimate Champions League contenders, as they would also face Arsenal and Manchester United in the upcoming weeks.
The Saints had only conceded one goal at home so far this season, winning eight of their last 10 Premier League games. Their run of 26 points from 12 matches is their best ever start to a Premier League season, and had they never lost at home before today’s game, having a better defence than leaders Chelsea.
City however are on form at the moment, winning more points away this season (14) than leaders Chelsea (11) from six games. Last weeks 3-2 victory at home against Bayern Munich, really gave them their morale back, but would they have to play their best today as their last victory against the Saints away was a 2-0 win back in 2003.
Man city went all out attack from the first whistle, having several attacking runs at the Southampton goal, but did not have any real dangerous attempts on target.
Then in the ninth minute, City had an early penalty appeal when Sergio Agureo was tackled inside the penalty area by Southampton’s Jose Fonte. However, referee Mike Jones decided to give Aguero a shocking yellow card for diving, despite replays showing he should have been given a penalty.
Saints had the first real close effort on goal in the 21st minute, when Pelle was picked out unmarked on the penalty spot by a great ball from Mané, however the Italian striker hit a weak ball for Joe Hart to save. The ball we back out to Steven Davis, but the Saints midfielder’s right footed shot from the centre of the box was again saved by a quick reflex from Hart and Dusan Tadic could not follow up on the rebound.
City’s biggest chance in the first half gave nine minutes later, when Jovetic was played free by Nasri’s through ball on the left, but his shot flew underneath Forster’s legs towards the goal where defender Alderweireld was to clear the ball of the line.
In the second half it was the Saints who started on the attack, and did Tadic come close after three minutes, when he cut in from the right but saw his fired low shot fly just past Hart’s far post.
Unfortunately for the home fans, it was City who took the lead in the 52nd minute, when a built up play had Aguero pass the ball to an unmarked Yaya Toure, whose cannonball shot flew into the goal from just outside the box.
Three quarters into the game, City looked comfortably in the lead and did they manage to keep Saints from getting the equaliser. However, in the 74th minute they made everything harder for themselves, when Mangala received his second yellow after bringing down Long from the behind.
Southampton fans believed this was the chance they had been waiting for, and after this, the Saints went all-out attack with all they had. However, this made their defence open and vulnerable on counter attacks, which was the case nine minutes before time. Aguero received the ball on the left flank, and with an easy finish found an unmarked Frank Lampard just outside the box, who took his time to fire an accurately finish in the bottom corner.
City made it made it 3-0 one minute before time, when Aguero again broke the Saints defence on counter attack and found a free Gael Clichy on an unfamiliar attack position on the right, whose right footed finish went straight past Forster in goal, making it his first ever goal for City.
The games finished 3-0 and do City move up to second in the Premier League, while the Saints go third. City will undoubtly take this as a great victory against a tough side, and do they have to create the same they did today next weekend as they will face Sunderland away at the Stadium of Light.
Southampton on the other hand will be devastated with the result, but will this also be a reality check for them as they now face the tough task of trying to get some points away at Arsenal next weekend, following up with a meeting with Manchester United.