In the first half it was the City of old, bossing possession and attack with patience and precision. An early gaff from referee Mike Jones leads to not only a missed penalty but an unwarranted yellow card for Sergio Aguero for simulation. It’s hard to see how Jones missed the call when he had a perfect angle to view it and Fonte was pleading his case that the foul occurred outside the box. After the non-penalty call City continued their dominance of the possession and the next best chance came from lovely build up play from the attacking duo of Aguero and Jovetic. The Argentinean played a pass to Jovetic,who was making a run into the left side of the box, the Montenegrin fired a shot through Fraser Foster’s leg but was saved off the line by Toby Alderweireld, but it was much better from City. Southampton weren’t to be out done and held their ground against the City attack and finally got a steady spell on the ball. The Saints best chance came at the feet of Graziano Pelle but he was unable to beat Joe Hart, who also saved the follow up shots.
Early on in the second half Southampton came with their shooting boots on, firing shots at Hart from outside the box, but those shots were well wide of their target. Six minutes into the second half City got onto the scorers sheet with a lovely distance strike from Yaya Toure, which took a deflection and into the back of the net. After winning the ball back, Fernandinho played a pass to Aguero who made a couple of moves and passed to Toure, who was calling for the ball outside the box. Just as the game was progressing the way City would like, an error by Yaya in the defensive half put Shane Long in with an open run at goal, which was halted by a last ditch Mangala foul. Mangala was given a yellow, his second on the day, and sent off leaving City down a man for the final 15 minutes. With all their men focused on grabbing the equalizer City countered and the young English midfielder Frank Lampard put his stamp on the game with a beautiful strike into the back of the net. The finish to the game was end-to-end stuff with both teams countering each others, well, counter attack. Aguero had a one-on-one with Fraser Foster and Pelle was inches away from bringing the Saints within a goal but none were put home. City capped the three points off with a counter attack tucked home by Clichy, which was a move full of surprises with the likes of Demichelis in "attacking midfield" and Clichy scoring with a right-footed shot.
Fernandinho and Milner were key in the final quarter of the game as their defensive work rate and tenacity around the box made the loss of Mangala seem like nothing. Ferny had some good header clearances in the box and interceptions all over the field, which is the Ferny we were use to during the first half of last season. Milner is, well, just Milner. He is always all over the pitch quickly making defensive stops and in attack the next minute. Yaya, other than that gaff in the second half, was back to the Yaya we are use to, full of desire and tenacity when on the ball. All good things during this game including Aguero getting some help from his friends!
This was a true test for both teams; for Southampton it was could they compete with the defending champions and prove their top 4 mettle. For City it was could we show the fight we have been lacking in our title defense and thankfully it was City who were up to the task today. It's a huge boost of confidence for the team, especially after back to back big victories. Though City may have won against Bayern, today's game was an all around team effort from the opening whistle. We got back to the City we saw last season.