Manchester City welcome Premier League strugglers Southampton to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with two quests in mind - to keep their unbeaten start to the season going and to beat the Saints in the league at the third attempt.
Along with Crystal Palace and Spurs and Liverpool, Saints were the only other team to take points off us twice last season, and City will want to end that sort of record before it starts becoming a habit.
The blues go into the match on the back of a couple of decent results. Wednesday’s 5-0 Champions League win was preceded by thrashing Manchester United 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium, and the faithful will be hoping for more goals against the Saints.
Southampton aren’t going into the match with a great run of form. They have won two of their eight Premier League matches so far this season. They have lost four out of the last five matches played and have won just one match on the road this season - 2-1 at Leicester.
More worryingly for the Saints, they have won just three from their last 20 league matches, and are just one point from dropping into the relegation zone. Southampton have drawn one and lost five so far, and a trip to free-scoring City would not have been high on their list of wants and needs!
Away from home, they have won one and lost three. If carried over from last season, Saints still have a solitary victory, but from ten away matches, they have lost seven. Before beating Leicester in August, their last away win was 3-2 at Spurs in February.
Who to watch
Che Adams poses the Saints biggest threat. From eight matches, Adams has scored four goals. With 15, he has attempted the most shots from the Southampton team, has a shot accuracy of 40% and a goal conversion rate of 27%. Joe Aribo has scored two of his five shots from nine matches and has a goal conversion rate of 40%. His shot accuracy however, is 100%, so Ederson needs to be on his guard on Saturday.
James Ward-Prowse, who is usually in the headlines, has scored just one goal so far this season - the opening goal at Spurs, a match the Saints went on to lose 4-1.
Eight players all have one assist each. Adams has had one of his 11 created chances converted and has completed 93 of his attempted 138, giving him a pass accuracy of 67%. Adam Armstrong has created eight chances and completed 118 of his 157 attempted passes, a pass accuracy of 75%.
Ward-Prowse has created the most chances with 17 and, with 395, has attempted the most passes, with 328 completed. From 8 games, that gives him a pass accuracy percentage of 83%, the joint highest alongside Lewis Payne. However, the latter has played just one match and completed 40 of his 48 attempts in his only appearance this season.
Who’s the boss?
Despite suffering two 9-0 defeats in successive seasons, Austrian boss Ralph Hassenhuttl is the man in charge at St Mary’s. He joined Southampton in December 2018 and has presided over 167 games.
From those matches, his team have won 57 and lost 70, giving Hassenhuttl a win percentage of just 35%.
There are several connections between these two clubs.
Wayne Bridge, Mick Channon and Dave Watson have played for both sides, while Gavin Bazuna, Romeo Lavia, Samuel Edozie and Juan Larios all joined Saints in the summer. From those, Bazuna has appeared in all Premier League games, while Lavia has missed the last three. Larios made his first appearance of the season in the home defeat to Everton, while Edozie has made three substitute appearances.
Alan Ball joined the blues in 1995, much to the anger of Saints and some sections of the blues, who felt previous manager Brian Horton deserved a longer tenure. However, new chairman Francis Lee had brought Ball to Maine Road after a long, protracted summer move and Ball oversaw City’s demise as they were relegated from the Premier League.