Manchester City have laid down a marker ahead of next season, tearing apart newly crowned champions Liverpool 4-0 on Thursday evening.
They’ve now won four of five outings since the restart in all competitions, keeping clean sheets in each victory as they also strolled through Arsenal (3-0), Burnley (5-0) and Newcastle (2-0), while going down 2-1 at Chelsea.
Aside from Crystal Palace, no team below Spurs in ninth place has even managed a draw with Pep Guardiola’s men since the start of December.
The Saints can be pleased with their return to action, as 3-0 and 3-1 wins away over relegation candidates Norwich and Watford respectively have cemented their safe position in the table.
However, they were beaten 2-0 at home by the Gunners, which was their fifth defeat in six winless clashes with top-half sides across all competitions since mid-January.
They’ve lost all four of these since February, and just excluding the bottom four teams in the table, they’ve amassed six consecutive defeats over this recent period.
City’s recent form suggests they should be looking to rack up another win with an accompanying clean sheet.
Nine of their past 11 victories in all competitions have seen them produce shutouts, and Guardiola’s only injury concern is Sergio Aguero, whose absence shouldn’t infringe upon their defensive record.
Meanwhile, Southampton are without captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who has been heavily linked with a move to Tottenham.
Man City -1 Handicap
However, it’s hard to ignore the Saints’ excellent record at finding the net against the top nine in the table this season.
They’ve done so in 15 of 18 matches across all tournaments, though by the same token they did ship 38 goals down the other end, so the handicap is certainly a viable alternative given City’s recent results.
Man City To Win And Both Teams To Score
There’s no doubting the firepower available to Pep Guardiola, but his side did come close to conceding against Liverpool with both Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia culpable of mistakes at the back.
Finding the right partner for the former will be critical if City are to win back their crown and whatever pairing the Spaniard elects for here, any such errors would likely be punished with Southampton’s Danny Ings prowling around the box.
Man City To Win 3-1
Both teams have in fact scored in eight of 10 head-to-heads since 2015/16, with Man City & BTTS paying out in all four going back to the start of last season.
Three of the four saw the Citizens win by a minimum two-goal margin at an aggregate 14-4, with two of the last three ending 3-1.
Southampton possess the worst home record in the division this term, taking 14 points from 16 matches and conceding 33 times, and we can’t see them claiming any points here.