Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium
Date: 1 May 2016
Referee: Andre Marriner
Kick off: 16:30
This game could have been played on Saturday had it not have been for the Premier League’s weird commitment to making life hard for their teams in Europe. The Mirror reported on Tuesday that we had made “tentative” enquiries about moving the Southampton game forward, only to be shown the hand. The game, then, will go ahead tomorrow, meaning only two days of recovery before the second leg of the semi-final against Real Madrid.
Like that spotty, buck-toothed nerd at school you never spoke to who defied the odds to blossom into an absolutely world class specimen a few years later, we find ourselves love drunk with the Champions League – a tournament we never really gave a plop about. Success blinds you like that. One win against a side we didn’t expect to beat, one semi-final, and all the bad blood is forgotten. In fact, my preoccupation with City’s Champions League saga had me asking who we were playing this weekend.
It’s Southampton, by the way. They’re unbeaten in their last three and could finish as high as 5th if they win all of their remaining games. Securing their highest ever ‘Premier League’ finish (they finished second in The Football League in 1983-84) however, would also depend on Manchester United and West Ham results.
Sadio Mané is in good form for the Saints and has scored 4 goals in his last 5. The Senegalese international is blessed with a cruel turn of pace and his bag of tricks bulges, but there is a feeling that he’s is at risk of becoming a bit of a Yannick Bolasie if he continues to be so inconsistent. Ronald Koeman will be delighted that his most dangerous player is playing at his best again, even if it means he’ll be in demand this summer.
It’d be inconsiderate not to mention Yaya Touré when talking about African footballers – we know he takes these things to heart. Yaya is unavailable for the trip to St Mary’s and will be assessed ahead of Wednesday’s match in Madrid. David Silva is out for two to three weeks after picking up a hamstring injury in the 0-0 draw against Los Blancos last week, but Samir Nasri will return to the squad and most likely the starting eleven after missing the 4-0 win over Stoke.
Another player very likely to make the starting XI is Kelechi Iheanacho. It’ll be incredibly difficult to drop him after his excellent showing last weekend, but away from home, is 4-4-2 a good idea? What we could see is Kelechi leading the line on his own with Raheem Sterling just behind him . In that duo you’ve got speed, energy, some shite finishing, and some impeccable finishing. I think it’d be exciting, myself.
I can’t say I’m expecting too much from this one with such a big game to play on Wednesday. A narrow win would be nice, though, so I’ll go for 2-1.
Predict the score:
[statsfc-score-predictor key=”D8SJIk7F6vySBuDaFQRSHy11xfbyCt18uXRinj2b” team=”Man City” date=”2016-05-01″ default_css=”true”]