In the search for a prestigious third consecutive Carabao Cup win, Manchester City welcome Southampton to the Etihad tomorrow…
The Saints come into the game winless in their last five – a run which has seen them fall to 18th in the Premier League. City, meanwhile, still find themselves chasing Liverpool and striving for the perfection needed to catch them.
Long-term absentees Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte are still sidelined, while Rodri and Zinchenko’s more recent injuries also keep them away from the team on Tuesday night.
In addition, Fernandinho’s needless sending off in the win over Aston Villa sees him miss tomorrow’s fixture. The vitally important Brazilian will, no doubt, return for this weekend’s game against Southampton.
Speaking of suspensions, fullback Ryan Bertrand was sent off in his side’s 9-0 humiliation by Leicester City. The Malian winger Moussa Djenepo will also miss tomorrow’s game through a long-term thigh injury, while defender Cédric Soares is nursing calf damage that will keep him sidelined.
Head to Head record
City have been on the winning side in nine out of the last eleven games between the two sides, having won the last five. The last meeting between the two was a 3-1 win for City – another game in which the Blues were chasing down Liverpool at the end of 2018.
As far as Premier League history goes, City have won 16 of the 29 meetings between the two sides, drawing seven.
Southampton’s last game was a 9-0 drubbing at the hands of Leicester, who recorded the biggest away win in Premier League history at St Mary’s last Friday. Their preceding four games have seen them lose three – two of them from Chelsea and Spurs and a 3-1 loss at home to south-coast-rivals Bournemouth. Saints fans have also seen their team concede 19 goals in the process.
Manchester City, on the other hand, have won four out of their last five league games, and saw Champion’s League success a week ago when they put five goals past Atalanta.
Ralph Hassenhüttl has lined up his team over the past two games with five players at the back, deploying his wing-backs as forward-thinking attacking threats. In this system, the midfield three of Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg, Oriol Romeu, and James Ward-Prowse provide energy, while Ward-Prowse can also provide an attacking threat both centrally and out wide.
The attacking threat in this setup is typically Danny Ings up front alongside Nathan Redmond. The latter will often make use of his playmaking ability and drop slightly deeper to link up the play.
In previous games this season they have also utilised a fluid 4-2-2-2/4-4-2 hybrid formation, with a more narrow focus. This focus allows them to press more effectively, as they did against Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Wolves so far this season.
A key feature of Hasenhüttl’s sides is their ability to set pressing traps to win the ball. This was one of the main reasons why Hasenhüttl had so much success with RB Leipzig.
Hassenhüttl is occasionally referred to as the ‘Alpine Klopp’, and his philosophy with regard to pressing is comparable with the Liverpool manager. He wants his players to press high up the pitch, and be proactively attacking in their approach to a game.
Speaking after his side’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa at the weekend, Guardiola refused to make any rash judgements following Friday night’s record result:
“It’s not easy of course but at the same time I think they are incredible professionals,
The players are professionals and will do their best. I am not going to judge Southampton or prepare for the game on that result against Leicester.”
The Catalan also spoke about his side’s injury troubles but refused to complain about their fortunes:
“You’ll never hear me complain about injuries. Normally, if I do complain, it is after we have won. I’ll never say anything about injuries or use that reason after a defeat“
“I’d prefer it if we were all together and everybody was available, but it is what it is.”
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