Southampton vs Man City on Sky: Mahrez will not feature after AFCON exit

Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Southampton vs Man City in the Premier League on Saturday Night Football; kick-off 5.30pm.

Team news

Southampton duo Theo Walcott and Mohamed Elyounoussi are in contention for Saturday’s Premier League clash with leaders Manchester City following absences due to Covid-19.

But the Saints remain without goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (hamstring), right-back Tino Livramento (knee) and midfielder Will Smallbone (calf).

Mali winger Moussa Djenepo is also unavailable due to his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse is the best free-kick taker in the world ahead of his side’s visit to St Mary’s.

Manchester City are not rushing Riyad Mahrez back into action following Algeria’s early elimination from the tournament in Cameroon.

Mahrez is to be given a week off and will return for City after the Premier League’s winter break.

Centre-back Nathan Ake is available again after a knock but left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko is still sidelined.

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A look at some of the key statistics ahead of Matchweek 23 in the Premier League.

How to follow

Saturday 22nd January 5:00pm Kick off 5:30pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD Sky Sports Premier League HD

Southampton vs Man City will be shown live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 5pm; kick-off 5.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

Last time out…

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Wolves’ win over Southampton in the Premier League.
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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s win over Chelsea in the Premier League.

Jones Knows prediction

Manchester City will lose a football match soon – but not this one.

Pep Guardiola’s men have won each of the last 12 Premier League games to fully gain control of the Premier League title race and to my eye, there does seem room for improvement in their performance levels which is a scary thought. Southampton don’t possess the defensive know-how to stop them.

Raheem Sterling had only scored one Premier League goal this season at the start of December following a stop-start period that perhaps was a bit of a hangover from his dazzling performances for England at the Euros. But the Sterling we’re seeing now is the fully fit and fully firing version. He was outstanding in the 1-0 win over Chelsea, revelling playing down the right as he sauntered past Marcos Alonso time after time. All that was missing from his performance was a goal but he remains in good nick in front of the sticks, scoring five in his last six appearances and eight in his last 12.

I’m happy to back him here to grab the game’s first goal, just like he did in this fixture last season.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Raheem Sterling to score first (7/2 with Sky Bet)

Opta stats

  • Southampton drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture against Man City earlier this season but haven’t avoided defeat in both league meetings with the Citizens since the 2002-03 campaign (W2).
  • Manchester City have won eight of their last 10 Premier League games against Southampton (D1 L1). However, the Citizens have failed to score in two of their last four against Saints in the competition, having found the net in each of their previous 16 against them.
  • Southampton have won their last two Premier League home games against sides starting the day top of the table, beating Everton and Liverpool last season. The last side to win more consecutive home league games against the league leaders were Tottenham, who did four in a row between January 2015 and January 2017.
  • Southampton are unbeaten in their last seven home Premier League games (W3 D4), their best unbeaten run at St Mary’s since a run of nine between March and October 2016.
  • Manchester City have won their last 12 Premier League games in a row by an aggregate score of 34-7; since losing 2-0 to Crystal Palace in October, they have won 36 points, 13 more than any other Premier League side.
  • After keeping five clean sheets in eight Premier League games between September and November, Southampton have conceded in each of their last 10 matches in the competition, shipping 21 goals in the process.
  • Manchester City have opened the scoring in more different Premier League games than any other side this season, going on to win all 17 games in which they scored first.
  • As well as having the tightest defence in the Premier League this season with just 13 goals conceded, Manchester City have also shipped the lowest ratio of their goals before half-time this term – just two of their 13 goals conceded have come before half-time (15%).
  • Southampton striker Armando Broja has scored in his first four home Premier League starts, netting one goal each time. In Premier League history, the only player to score in his first five home starts is Gary Penrice for Queens Park Rangers between September and December 1992.
  • Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in 11 goals in his last 14 Premier League starts (9 goals, 2 assists), scoring the winner against Chelsea in their last game. De Bruyne has assisted in all three of his league starts at St Mary’s (4 in total), with only Harry Kane assisting more goals at St Mary’s as an away player (5).
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Premier League Preview: Conte’s Spurs to crack Chelsea code? Man Utd momentum? Watford-Norwich six-pointer

The Essential Football Podcast returns as host Alice Piper is joined by Charlotte Marsh and Ben Grounds to preview another captivating round of Premier League games which could have ramifications at both ends of the table.

PART ONE | After their dramatic, late victory at Leicester, the panel assess whether Antonio Conte’s Tottenham can crack the Stamford Bridge code and haul Chelsea back into the wide open race for the top four

PART TWO | Cristiano Ronaldo’s tantrum stole the headlines but having bounced back at Brentford have Ralf Rangnick and Man Utd built enough momentum to capitalise on the West Ham fragilities exposed by Leeds and boost their top-four chances? Plus: with an 11-point lead at the summit, can champions Man City afford to take their foot of the gas at Southampton?

PART THREE | An archetypal relegation six-pointer kicks off the Premier League weekend as Watford host Norwich on Friday – but which club is best placed to seize the initiative? Plus: tasked with steadying the ship for the second time in three years, can Duncan Ferguson galvanise Everton ahead of the visit of Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa?

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