Manchester City survived a huge scare at home to a struggling Southampton side, with Kyle Walker’s late goal securing the three points.
Manchester City came out the blocks quickly in search of an opening goal to open the floodgates against a Saints team who had conceded 12 times in their last two games, but came up against a resilient opponent who took a shock lead when Ederson couldn’t contain a Stuart Armstrong shot, bobbling the ball to James Ward-Prowse who scored from a yard out.
Pep Guardiola made a change at half time in search of a response, taking off captain David Silva for Gabriel Jesus, who went up to partner Sergio Aguero.
Southampton’s brave resistance wasn’t broken until 70 minutes were on the clock, Sergio Aguero applying a lovely finish to Kyle Walker’ drilled cross, with Walker turning finisher with three minutes to go to wrap up the points.
Key Talking Point
Falling behind early to a Southampton team short of any confidence would’ve raised questions about this City side.
They got back in the game with a wonderfully taken Aguero goal after good work down the right by Kyle Walker, but they struggled – it can’t be ignored. They were playing at home to a team who lost 9-0 last weekend to Leicester.
This isn’t the imperious City that we have come to expect. The City of last year would’ve dispatched this Southampton team with ease, and were lucky to come away with the three points. They take their title challenge to Liverpool next weekend – which City will we see?
Starting XI: Ederson (5); Walker (9*), Stones (7), Fernandinho (6), Angelino (7); De Bruyne (8), Gundogan (6), D. Silva (7); Bernardo (7), Aguero (7), Sterling (6)
Substitutes: Jesus (6), Foden (N/A), Otamendi (N/A)
STAR MAN – Kyle Walker
The English right back had his best game of the season – and fantasy owners would have been jumping for joy. He turned out to be the match winner for City, but it was much more than that.
He provided the assist for Aguero’s equaliser and then got the crucial winner when it looked like City might have to settle for a point. Walker may prove to be a crucial player if this City team is to retain their Premier League title – even with the signing of Joao Cancelo.
Key Talking Point
Nothing was really expected of Southampton as they travelled to the league’s leading scorers after conceding nine against Leicester last weekend, but it was evident that Ralph Hasenhuttl had fired his players up when they took a shock lead after only 13 minutes.
They looked completely different to the team that got battered 9-0 at home to Leicester, and for most of the game managed to keep the champions at bay.
Southampton can take huge reassurance from this game, and confidence going forward. They lacked a spark going forward, but at the back they seemed as if they’d fixed the problems that plagued them against Leicester.
They were unlucky to come away from the Etihad without anything to take back to the south coast.
Starting XI: McCarthy (6); Valery (5), Bednarek (8*), Stephens (7), Vestegaard (7), Hojbjerg (5); Ward-Prowse (8), Romeu (6), Armstrong (7); Ings (6), Redmond (6)
Substitutes: Danso (6). Djenepo (N/A), Adams (N/A)
STAR MAN – Jan Bednarek
Any of Southampton’s back three could’ve made it in here, as they held Manchester City out for most of the game.
Bednarek made clearance after clearance, preventing any sort of cross from the wide areas from getting into a dangerous position. Southampton defended heroically in front of their travelling fans and Stephens was key to that.
Jack Stephens and Jannik Vestegaard were equally as heroic, but Bednarek was the pick of the three.
Manchester City take a break from domestic football as they go to Italy to face Atalanta in the Champions League looking to continue their perfect record. Their next Premier League game? The biggest game of the season so far – Liverpool away.
Southampton travel back to the south coast as they host a struggling Everton side at St Mary’s next Saturday. They will be hoping to avoidt a repeat of their last home game.