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City v. Saints: Who will it be on Saturday?

Here we explore how Manchester City may line up against Southampton on Saturday at the Etihad.

Manchester City FC head coach Manuel Pellegrini looks dejected at the end of the UEFA Champions League group stage match between Juventus and Manchester City FC at Juventus Arena on November 25, 2015 in Turin, Italy.
Manchester City FC head coach Manuel Pellegrini looks dejected at the end of the UEFA Champions League group stage match between Juventus and Manchester City FC at Juventus Arena on November 25, 2015 in Turin, Italy.
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

After successive defeats to Liverpool last week in the Premier League, and Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday, Manuel Pellegrini will seek to gain an important victory at home when City receives Southampton on Saturday. Pellegrini, who has been subjected to criticism by fans and journalists alike, will have David Silva at his disposal after the Spanish attacking midfielder missed the last nine matches for City. He will not have, however, Joe Hart, who will be out after suffering a hamstring injury against Juventus in the Champions League.

The return of David Silva will certainly be a delight for Manchester City. It is fair to say in the nine matches Silva has been absent, City have not quite been able to muster the attacking flair. This has been the case particularly in the matches against Liverpool and Juventus, where their lacked a cutting edge to break through the defense to get a good chance at goal. With Silva's dazzling passing and ability to read the attacking trio around him, it is fair to say that Silva has arrived in the ideal time to get Manchester City out of its present situation.

Manuel Pellegrini, in contrary to his typical 4-2-3-1, decided to play a 4-5-1 to try and break down Juventus in Wednesday night's Champions League fixture and paid the price for this change by losing 1-0 in Turin. Though he attempted a 4-5-1, he most likely will return to a 4-2-3-1 because it gives the starting XI more attacking capability and with David Silva back in the team, the attack will be working more efficiently and with better prospects of scoring. With the return of Silva, it is highly likely that Jesus Navas will return to the bench in favor of Kevin De Bruyne, who will occupy the left, and Raheem Sterling, who will occupy the right and could cause Southampton issues with his blistering pace.

In Wednesday's match against Juventus, Yaya Toure occupied a more attacking and central position in the pitch, almost in the same attacking line as Kevin De Bruyne and Jesus Navas. With the arrival of Silva, it looks like Toure will play with Fernandinho in the defensive end of midfield. With Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala out with injury, it looks like it will once again be Nicolas Otamendi and Martin Demichelis who will occupy the two center back positions. With the return of Gael Clichy on Wednesday, it looks like he may keep his place as will Bacary Sagna, who is covering for the injured Pablo Zabaleta.

My Predicted Starting XI