Red-hot Manchester City destroy Southampton
SOUTHAMPTON – Manchester City battered Southampton 4-1 as Pep Guardiola’s side won their fifth-straight Premier League game to cut the gap to leaders Arsenal.
That sound you can hear is City roaring towards the top of the table as they’ve now won eight games in a row in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last 12.
Right on half time Erling Haaland made it 1-0, then Jack Grealish made it 2-0 before he set up Haaland to score an audacious overhead kick to make it three.
Southampton substitute Sekou Mara made it 3-1 but moments later City sub Julian Alvarez slotted home a penalty kick as City purred in the second half.
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The win moves them on to 67 points as they keep the pressure on Arsenal, while Southampton remain bottom of the table on 23 points.
City in best form of the season at exactly the right time
Last week Bernardo Silva said City were playing their best football of the season. He’s right. City have peaked at the perfect time and with the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal ties against Bayern Munich, plus an FA Cup semifinal and a showdown with Arsenal coming up, they are roaring towards the finish line. Kevin de Bruyne and Jack Grealish ran the show, just like they did against Liverpool last weekend, and although they battled through a slow first half it was business as usual in the second. They have arrived at this stage of the season in stunning form so many times in recent seasons (ask Liverpool) and they’re doing it again. Premier League leaders Arsenal will be extremely concerned ahead of their showdown with City at the Etihad on April 26. Right now City look unstoppable and Erling Haaland is back fit and banging in the goals too.
Pep Guardiola hails Haaland, De Bruyne
On Haaland: “I think our bosses bought him for this type of game, we are uncomfortable and not playing at our best level but he gets the goal. The second you can’t imagine at his height he has this ability. Exceptional goal.”
“Amazing,” Guardiola said of the finish. “It is not easy to pick the ball up in the sky and put it on the grass. The first half was not our best level but he changed the game. As a top scorer we lived two incredible decades with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but he is on that level.”
On De Bruyne: “Kevin is playing at that level. He was involved in many things. He is exceptional. There are players who need to play at 40% but he is a guy who needs to play for every action at a high, high level. When one player has this 80-90% intensity and ability to see the passes he is more calm than the ones at 40%. He is an exceptional player.”
De Bruyne reflects on reaching 100 Premier League assists
Ruben Selles on Saints’ approach for rest of the season
Asked by ProSoccerTalk about Southampton’s approach now they are four points from safety with eight games of the season to go, Ruben Selles was positive they are on the right path and will keep doing what they are doing:
“We are always going to the front foot or try to go to the front foot. But we cannot go like crazy on the front foot and open up some spaces, like today for example. We can go high and apply the pressure but if we are not organized we will never do it. It is to have the same approach, really. We are competitive against anybody and it is to take the same approach to deliver what we are doing, to try to play with what we think is the correct thing because we are not a team that is going to kick a long ball and then a second action and try to do it there. We are not going to go anywhere [with that]. We have been building an identity now for two months and I think we have a team that you can recognize is how Southampton wants to do things. That is what we are. We need to be proud of what we do and I think we are and then the connection is going to be there and we are going to be competitive with some structure.”
Stars of the show; Southampton vs Manchester City player ratings
Kevin de Bruyne: Lovely assist (his 100th in the Premier League), won a penalty kick and oozed class. He is in peak form.
Jack Grealish: Goal and assist for the second game running and he’s now one of the first names on the team sheet. Saints couldn’t handle him and KDB.
Southampton host Crystal Palace on Saturday, Apr. 15. Manchester City host Bayern in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Tuesday, Apr. 11 and then head to Leicester on Saturday, Apr. 15.
How to watch Southampton vs Manchester City live, stream link and start time
Southampton vs Manchester City live analysis! - By Joe Prince-Wright at St Mary’s
GOALLL! Southampton 1-4 Manchester City - Kyle Walker-Peters slides in and takes down Kevin de Bruyne to give away a penalty kick, which Julian Alvarez slots home down the middle.
GOALLL! Southampton 1-3 Manchester City - Moussa Djenepo with a brilliant mazy run and he sets up Sekou Mara to score his first Premier League goal.
GOALLL! Southampton 0-3 Manchester City - Erling Haaland scores a stunning scissor kick. A great assist from Jack Grealish. What a goal.
This is very easy for Man City now. It will be very surprising if they don’t win this by a few more.
GOALLL! Jack Grealish makes it 2-0. His first effort is saved by Bazunu but he buries the rebound. Clinical from City. That should be it.
CHANCE! Ilkay Gundogan curls a shot wide of the far post after another great counter from City. Grealish did really well, again.
Second half is underway here at St Mary’s and Saints have started well. Can they get level? Or will City ease to victory? Most would say it will be the latter but Arsenal fans (and Southampton supporters, of course) will be hoping Theo Walcott and Co. can maybe grab a point. Intriguing 45 coming up.
🚨 A very enjoyable first half here at St Mary’s as Erling Haaland scored (again) but Southampton were pretty good.— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) April 8, 2023
Watch live + analysis + videos ➡️ https://t.co/BavEIuDAZr
My thoughts on Southampton vs Manchester City ⤵️ #SaintsFC #MCFC pic.twitter.com/4O7kXYi6hM
HALF TIME: Southampton 0-1 Manchester City - Saints almost made it to the break without conceding but that extra bit of quality has City ahead. The hosts played pretty well but KDB to Haaland and it is advantage City. As it stands, City have cut the gap to leaders Arsenal to just five points.
GOALLL! Southampton 0-1 Manchester City - Right on half time City take the lead. A brilliant cross from Kevin de Bruyne and Haaland heads home easily.
CHANCE! Kamaldeen Sulemana played in by Romeo Lavia and his effort is wide of the far post. No real belief in that and no Southampton player was following in.
WIDE! Erling Haaland should score. Kevin de Bruyne played a lovely ball out to Jack Grealish and then KDB whipped in a cross which deflected and looped up into the air and found Haaland at the back post. He towers over Ward-Prowse but puts his header wide. The City fans here at St Mary’s thought that was in. It should have been.
Wow. Kamaldeen Sulemana with an outrageous piece of skill to get away from Akanji but his cross just misses everyone. That has got the home fans going here. Also, a seagull keeps swooping in front of the press box here. They’re having a lovely old time in the sun.
CHANCE! A cross is whipped into the box and Saints can’t quite get on the end of it but this is promising from the home side. Ruben Dias is working hard to make tackles and blocks but City aren’t too comfortable.
CHANCE! Kamaldeen Sulemana races towards goal but Nathan Ake makes him delay and he runs the ball straight at Ederson and City get away with it. Some hope for Saints but Sulemana should have at least got a shot away.
SAVE! Gavin Bazunu pushes away a shot from Jack Grealish after a fluid Man City counter. What a move that was.
CHANCE! Carlos Alcaraz whips in a lovely cross from the right but nobody is on the end of it. Good start from Saints.
Hello and welcome to the very sunny South Coast! It is a beautiful spring day here. Will the locals be celebrating a huge upset win a few hours from now? They certainly need one after big wins for Bournemouth and Wolves at the bottom of the table earlier today. Manchester City have to win to close the gap on leaders Arsenal and keep their title bid alive. Also, a certain Mr. Haaland has returned for City...
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Saints are scrapping away but it may not be enough to save them this season. Just over a year after their new owners (Sport Republic) arrived they are staring relegation square in the face. Sacking Ralph Hasenhuttl followed by the disastrous tenure of Nathan Jones has been a huge part of why they are at the bottom and not signing a star striker last summer, plus adding plenty of talented but inexperienced youngsters, has all led to this mess. They can still stay up but games against Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Fulham and Nottingham Forest in their final nine games have now become must wins. This game against City is a free-hit but Saints have a strange knack of pulling off huge shocks. Captain James Ward-Prowse looks like the pressure is getting to him as even his free kicks have been off, while Kyle Walker-Peters is consistently their best player as he offers so much down the right flank and Romeo Lavia is a special talent.
Manchester City have been on fire, even without the injured Erling Haaland, as Julian Alvarez stepped in admirably against Liverpool. Jack Grealish put in his best display in a City shirt in the demolition of Liverpool, while Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez are all in their best form of the season at precisely the right time. Manchester City have peaked perfectly and their hybrid 3-2-4-1 system is bamboozling teams with John Stones playing as both a right back and central midfielder. Pep Guardiola is finding new ways to dominant games and anybody who comes up against City right now is in damage limitation mode from the start. And now Haaland has returned from injury too.
Southampton team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Juan Larios (thigh), Valentino Livramento (hamstring), Che Adams (calf), Mohammed Salisu (knock)
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Phil Foden (appendix)