Man City v Southampton: Back Guardiola's team to ease back into winning groove

Manchester City have finally lost, but Dan Fitch expects them to bounce back by winning to nil against a Southampton side lacking a cutting edge.


Winning streak comes to an end

Manchester City's long winning run is over and they will now be determined to start another one.

An astonishing run of 21 consecutive wins ended on Sunday when Manchester City were beaten 2-0 at home by their arch rivals Manchester United. The result leaves City 11 points clear of United at the top of the Premier League.

With ten games of the season remaining, it still seems extremely likely that City will win the title. In a season where the quadruple is on, the concern for Pep Guardiola will be what Sunday's results says about City's chances in cup competitions, where a similar off day would be fatal. City had 66% of the possession against Manchester United and 23 shots on target. For all their quality, Manchester City have largely been without a top class striker this season, with Sergio Aguero often injured and Gabriel Jesus not yet showing he can adequately replace the veteran Argentine.

Guardiola may well start Aguero here, as he slowly attempts to build up his match fitness. The return to training of Nathan Ake last week, means that City now have a fully fit squad to choose from.

Southampton finally win but suffer Ings blow

While City's winning run came to an end this weekend, Southampton ended a long period of games without a victory.

The Saints won 2-0 at Sheffield United, which ended a sequence of nine Premier League games without a victory. Southampton were getting dangerously close to the relegation zone, so this was a vital win, which gives them a seven point advantage over 18th placed Fulham, with a game in hand.

Southampton were briefly top of the Premier League in November, before slipping into a rut. Ralph Hasenhuttl is hampered by a squad that lacks any real depth, so finding consistency will always be tough and his team suffered another frustrating injury on Saturday.

Danny Ings was injured against Sheffield United, which leaves Hasenhuttl without a reliable goalscorer. Ings is the latest addition to a lengthy injury list, with Oriol Romeu, William Smallbone, Theo Walcott and Michael Obafemi all out.

Clean sheet for hosts

Manchester City are the 1.23 favourites, with Southampton at 17.0 and the draw at 7.6.

That seems a perfectly reasonable price for City, considering the recent form of both teams. With Southampton without Ings and having generally been struggling to score goals, backing Manchester City to win to nil at 1.95, seems the obvious way to boost the price for the hosts.

Southampton have failed to score in five of their last seven away games in the Premier League. Manchester City have conceded in each of their last three home matches, but had not conceded at the Etihad in each of their previous seven games.

City are fast starters

The defeat to Manchester United was the first time that City had failed to score in a match since early December, in the reverse fixture which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Of the 22 games in-between these matches, City scored in the first-half on 18 occasions and you can back them to win half-time/full-time at 1.73. An alternative is for Manchester City to score in both halves, which is a bet that has landed in six of their last eight games and is available at 1.86.

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