Man City subpar in surprising Southampton defeat as strikers fail to find target

Manchester City’s poor Premier League campaign saw another bump in the road Sunday, as they were beaten 1-0 by Southampton.

Che Adams’ long-range strike in the 16th minute won the game for the Saints, with City forced to look to the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League for some kind of salvation over the next few weeks.


They calmed the tempo down as and when was necessary, with the intention switching to a “break them down slowly” sort of approach. That allowed City to cut inside and work their way through the middle of the park, and in doing so, they didn’t give the Saints all too much time to breathe.


The visitors were rushed on the ball by Southampton and, in many ways, were played at their own high-intensity game, especially in the first half. They clearly thought they could push the hosts back with ease and impose their will on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, but they massively underestimated Saints’ attacking prowess. Plus, although their through-balls were working like a dream, the end product wasn’t there.

Manager rating out of 10

6 — It was a strong starting XI from Pep Guardiola, with the Spaniard putting out a powerful front three alongside a few fresh faces on the bench. He seemed to demand urgency from the word go, but the formation appeared to leave Fernandinho pretty isolated in midfield, which is where Southampton were able to have some of their best moments. He stuck with what he had after half-time, with the timing of his minimal substitutions being viewed as slightly suspect.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Ederson, 5 — The sweeper role always threatens to leave the keeper exposed, and that’s exactly what happened when Adams took advantage of Ederson’s high position early in the game. He made a few impressive saves elsewhere, but the error stands out.

DF Joao Cancelo, 6 — It was a real roller coaster of a performance from Cancelo, from the first minute until the very last. Although he is one of the best crossers of the ball for City, with wonderful footwork, too, he was often dispossessed due to a lack of concentration.

DF Eric Garcia, 5 — The youngster’s pass completion is on another level, but a poor 67th-minute back pass highlighted perfectly why he still has a long way to go.

DF Aymeric Laporte, 6 — A fluffed clearance in the sixth minute caused something of a panic, but the highly rated defender tracked back well and put in a solid enough showing.

DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 5 — His distribution in the second half was welcomed, but the fact that he gave the ball away for Southampton’s…

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