Manchester City head to the south coast on the back of a 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool on Thursday evening, a match that saw the greatest statement if intent to date by the blues. Victory for City will mean qualification to next season’s Champions League, which is of course, dependent on the verdict of CAS which is due in the next week.
They face a Southampton side that were only seven points away from the relegation zone prior to lockdown and the postponement of Premier League football, but since the return to action, the Saints have managed to claw back some points and now sit on the magical 40 point mark, thirteen points away Aston Villa in 18th place.
City’s form at Southampton has been erratic over the years but has stabilised in the last three seasons, so what do the stats say about this fixture?
City have won on each of their last three visits to Southampton, 3-0, 1-0 and 3-1 and have lost once in their last five visits. Over the course of the Premier League era, City have won nine of the 15 league matches played, and have lost just three, while three draws have been played out.
Interestingly, from those nine wins, City have kept a clean sheet on eight occasions, and equally interesting is that City’s three Premier League defeats have all been by two goal margins – 2-0 in October 2002, 3-1 in February 2013 and 4-2 in May 2016.
If City win on Sunday, the current win streak will be the longest they have had had Southampton with four straight wins, while the club’s unbeaten run stands at five matches, achieved between November 1991 and January 1996, when the blues recorded three wins and two draws.
The longest winless run tells a very different story and stands at eleven matches between December 1978 and December 1990, when the blues lost 10 matches with a solitary draw in the middle. City lost eight straight matches between 1978 and September 1985, however two of those matches were in the League Cup.
City’s first visit to the south coast came in an FA Cup tie in February 1910, which the blues won 5-0, but only travelled south on four occasions in the next 37 years.
Since that meeting, the blues have scored 57 goals over 45 matches in all competitions, which equates to 1.26 goals per game, while Southampton and scored 64 times past the blues, a goal average that equals 1.4 goals per game.
The blues have prevented the Saints from scoring on their own soil on 14 occasions, while Southampton have returned the compliment just 10 times, so if City get their act together defensively, they should come away with the three points.
There have only ever been two goalless draws in this fixture, and prior to the stalemate in October 2004, you’d have to look way back to April 1970 to find the other one.
The blues need a victory to secure Champions League football next season. Will they get it and extend the winning run?