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Jon Riley 8th Feb 2013 - 19:42

City to outmuscle stuttering Saints?

Southampton v Man City
17:30 - live on ESPN

Last week's 2-2 draw against Liverpool may have extended City's unbeaten run to six games, but the two points dropped left them a huge nine points behind their title and cross-city rivals Man Utd.

Roberto Mancini's men now travel to Southampton in the knowledge can they can not afford to drop any more points in their remaining thirteen Premier League matches if they are to retain the champions' trophy they worked so hard to win last season.

The Saints are desperate for the points themselves after a winless run of four matches dragged them back into a relegation fight that they had looked like easing away from. Draws with Wigan and Everton, either side of a loss to Man Utd, mean that new manager Mauricio Pochettinho is still yet to register a success at St Mary's.

Some fans would go as far as saying that the Saints have gone backwards since the shock sacking of Nigel Adkins. After leading the south-coast club to successive promotions, a more than adequate return to the Premier League, and a draw at the home of the reigning European champions, the Southampton board still found it necessary to relieve Adkins of his duties.

A first win for Pochettinho looks unlikely to arrive on Saturday tea-time. Southampton have only won one of their last nine home league matches against Manchester City, drawing three and losing the other five. The bookies have installed the hosts as 9/2 underdogs but it could be much closer.

These two sides played on the opening day of the season, with City prevailing 3-2 (Correct Score 25/1) thanks to a winner in the 80th minute from Samir Nasri (last goal 8/1) having been pegged back twice by Southampton equalisers.

This time around the visitors can be backed at 4/6 and the draw is 13/5.

The William Hill Headline Offers for this match focus on the goal-scoring prowess of both Rickie Lambert and Sergio Aguero.
Rickie Lambert is the top-scoring Englishman in the Premier League this season with 11 goals. He has scored 99 goals in total for Southampton and can be backed at 8/1 to score in a shock win for the Saints. The Liverpool born forward scored at the Etihad in August and is priced at 15/2 to open the scoring and 9/4 to notch anytime.

Sergio Aguero's exquisite equalizer against Liverpool last week was the reward for an inspirational performance that saw him provide almost the solitary threat against a stubborn Liverpool defence. The Argentine striker is priced at 6/4 to score anytime in a City victory.

On the injury front, Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw should both recover from knocks that forced them out of international duty with the England Under-21s.Morgan Schneiderlin should deputise for Giuly Do Prado in the centre of midfield.

Manchester City welcome the Toure brothers back into their squad after their return from African Cup of Nations duty, and both should figure for their club again soon.

Vincent Kompany has returned to training as his recovery is going better than expected, although the Belgian is still a little way away from a return.





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