Competition/Round: 2017/18 Premier League Season – Matchday 38
Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, England, United Kingdom
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Simon Long, Richard West
Fourth Official: Mike Dean
TV Info: Sky Sports Premier League (UK); FuboTV, SYFY (USA)
Live Stream: Sky GO (UK); NBC Sports Live (USA)
Southampton finished eighth in the 2016/17 Premier League season, and while the Saints performed well, Chairman Ralph Krueger sought new improvements to his side. Former manager Claude Puel was relieved of his duties and Mauricio Pellegrino took his place. Southampton then acquired a few new players in the Summer 2017 Transfer Window, and with a newly-built squad, it seemed the Saints would be on course for another strong season.
Fate had other plans. The Saints were quickly dumped out of the EFL Cup, and after a series of poor performances, Southampton soon found themselves in the relegation battle. Pellegrino was then fired in March 2018. Mark Hughes quickly took his place, and although the former Stoke manager has been far from perfect, it seems his side will avoid the drop into the Championship. Should the Saints evade a battering on Sunday, they will maintain their place in the Premier League.
Nevertheless, Hughes will need to take the upcoming summer break to examine how he might rebuild his squad. In short, the 2017/18 season has been one to forget.
In stark contrast, Manchester City have had a remarkable season. The Premier League champions celebrated another milestone on Wednesday. After defeating Brighton, the Blues set a series of new records for most victories (31), points earned (97) and goals scored (105) in a single Premier League season.
City will hope to continue their run in this match. As things stand, a victory at St. Mary’s Stadium would see them set the record for most away wins in a single season (16). Should Manchester City win on Sunday, they will also be the first team in Premier League history to earn 100 points in a single campaign.
A victory at St. Mary’s Stadium, however, will not be an easy task. A late Raheem Sterling goal was required to take all three points in the reverse fixture, and it is assumed the Saints will try to replicate a similar defensive display.
Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero continues to carry a knee injury. Vincent Kompany and David Silva are doubts.
McCarthy; Bednerak, Yoshida, Hoedt; Soares, Højbjerg, Romeu, Bertrand; Tadić, Redmond; Austin
Manager: Mark Hughes
Ederson; Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gündoğan; Sterling, Jesus, B. Silva
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Southampton had a nervy game in mid-week in what was essentially a relegation cup final against Swansea. Having secured a narrow victory over the Swans, the Saints have all but guaranteed their Premier League safety for next season.
Overall, the 2017/18 campaign has been disappointing and Southampton are desperately waiting for this season to end. Manchester City, however, stand between them and the summer break. The Saints could not have asked for a more difficult opponent on the final matchday of the season.
In contrast, the Blues will want to conclude their remarkable season with another victory on Sunday. In addition, a few of City’s younger players could feature in this match. For example, Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz, who are both one appearance short of earning a Premier League winner’s medal, may be used as substitutes.
The Blues currently sit on 97 points, and should they beat the Saints, they will be the first team in Premier League history to earn 100 points in a single season. With three points within their grasp, City will surely strive to break this record.
Southampton 1-3 Manchester City