Manuel Pellegrini made two changes from the Manchester City side that beat West Bromwich midweek, with James Milner and Alvaro Negredo preferred to Jesus Navas and Edin Dzeko. It was unsurprising, as away to Southampton, having a gritty player on the right wing makes sense, and, of course, Negredo gives you more when the ball needs to be won.
The thoughts I had going in was to test the Southampton goalkeeper early on. Paulo Gazzaniga started his second straight game after the injury to Artur Boruc, and his record of conceding a goal every 24 minutes was certainly something in my mind.
City started very well, just as they did on Wednesday. And again, like Wednesday, they went ahead before the 10 minute mark through a Sergio Aguero strike; that came after a couple of previous plays hadn’t quite worked out for the visitors. Early on, Mauricio Pochettino’s side was on the back foot and City was cruising. The question, as with the previous away games, was whether or not City could convert the possession and chances into goals and come away with the win.
However, unlike Wednesday, the opposition didn’t sink back in their shells after going a goal down, and instead, went toe-to-toe with the visitors. After almost constant pressuring, the Saints were rewarded with a fantastic goal from Daniel Osvaldo. The Argentinian born striker left Vincent Kompany on his backside, then wrong-footed Pablo Zabaleta before placing a shot over 6-foot-8 tall Costel Pantilimon for certainly a goal of the month contender.
The second half was the most worrisome for City fans and Pellegrini, however, with very little created in the Southampton half, and Yaya Toure disappeared down the tunnel after being substituted. It was unclear if it was tactical or due to an injury concern, but the changes had been weird all game.
Many will understand the withdrawal of Negredo for Garcia, with the change allowing Toure to push forward, but I wasn’t to sure bringing Milner off for Navas was the right move. In a positive light, however, Chelsea lost, but with Liverpool winning and Arsenal hosting Everton tomorrow, City slips down to fourth when they could be looking at second tonight.