European spots are up for grabs here, with City trying to hang on for a top-four finish and the Saints just two points off West Ham in sixth. There’s certainly no suggestion that Southampton have eased up as we reach the final month of the season and their only defeat in seven came at champions-elect Leicester. Furthermore, they’ve won six of their last eight home games.
The Saints defence has been unusually vulnerable in the run-in, conceding in each of their last nine matches. However, Pelle, Mane, Long and Tadic have all raised their game over this time as the attack has started to click consistently. Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham have all been beaten here in the second half of the season while last term they went W1-D2-L2 against the top five finishers.
Man City will certainly be missing David Silva and with a Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday they will have to make a decision on how many players they are willing to risk in what should be a full bloodied affair. De Bruyne was rested against Stoke before the first leg while both he and Toure started on the bench in the laboured win against West Brom in-between the two quarter-final legs. Given they will need to score in the Bernabeu the big question will be whether Sergio Aguero is also among those that are rested.
City have certainly been playing far better in the past month but they’ve still won just four of their last 14 away games and just when they looked to be hitting top form they drew their last road trip at Newcastle. So they don’t look a team that can be totally trusted yet and particularly not given the timing of this match. Instead we can turn to the goals markets again and since the start of last season we see that 12 of their 17 trips to teams placed 4th-12th have had at least three goals, which increases to 11 of 12 when they’ve conceded with six having at least four strikes.
With the Saints playing so well at home and having scored in 14 of their last 16 home games we certainly expect them to score and five of the seven meetings between these teams since 2012/13 have had at least three strikes, while four had more than three. Southampton may well offer a touch of value in the match outcome markets but until we see the team news our best bet has to be for goals at either end.
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