With City already set for second place in the league standings, and a spot in next season's UEFA Champions League already booked, it will be the Saints would will have it all to play for when both teams face off on Sunday at the Etihad. The Saints sit a mere point behind Tottenham, who will face-off against Everton at Goodison Park for sixth place, the final European slot, which would be for the Europa League third qualifying round. If Tottenham loses at Goodison Park, Southampton would require only a draw as a result of a substantially better goal difference as oppose to that of Tottenham (Spurs +4, Saints +23).
With City currently on a five match winning streak, it would be fitting to end the season on a six match winning streak. After so much turbulence, like Yaya Touré's apparent exit, Samir Nasri's lackluster displays, locker room bust-ups, and even a momentary fall to fourth place, it will come good to the fans to see City come on top on the last day of the season. With only Samir Nasri out injured, Manuel Pellegrini will have an ample amount of players to choose from. It is curious to note that this match may be the final City match for Yaya Touré, who has been incessantly linked to a move to Inter Milan, James Milner, who looks set for a free transfer to Liverpool, and certainly Frank Lampard, who will return to MLS side New York City FC.
It will not be a surprise to see any of these players start or even make a late appearance, especially Yaya Touré, who has been a consistent starter for City this season. Frank Lampard has been a player who has delivered for City this season off the bench and whose experience has helped guide City through some tough moments. James Milner, though not a starter every match, has contributed to the City cause this season.
With so much on the line for the Saints, it is very possible that they will opt for quick counter attacks because it will be City who will be winning out in terms in possession. The Saints will be looking for Sadio Mane, who scored a record-breaking hat trick in under 3 minutes against Aston Villa. That kind of speed from the Senegalese winger will prove that Southampton will try to counter and catch City sleeping. It is not just Mane. Southampton have many quality players like Shane Long, James Ward-Prowse and Graziano Pelle that can raid City defense will attacks.
City will need a balanced formation that is capable of breaking down and containing the Saints and keeping them at bay. This will make the match much easier for City if they can contain the threat from Southampton's front men and midfield.
Projected Line-Up (4-4-2)
Hart; Kolarov, Demichelis, Kompany, Zabaleta; Touré, Lampard, Silva, Navas; Aguero, Bony