Manchester City - Southampton Preview: Premier League & Championship top scorers clash
Roberto Mancini's men will look to hit the ground running in their defence of the title against the newly-promoted Saints, who finished as runners-up in the second tier
By Michael Lightfoot
Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy
Yaya Toure, De Jong
Silva, Tevez, Nasri
Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox
Guly, Schneiderlin, S Davis, Lallana
Manchester City start their first Premier League season as champions but could have both Joe Hart and Mario Balotelli out injured, with the duo missing the international friendly between England and Italy midweek.
Hart could return after a back injury but Costel Pantilimon is ready to deputise, while Balotelli is less likely to feature after conjunctivitis.
Gareth Barry and Micah Richards will not play due to respective hernia and foot injuries but City's strength in depth will allow them to field a strong XI nevertheless.
Southampton start their first Premier League campaign since their relegation with a first meeting between the pair in the higher echelons in five years.
Jack Cork will not feature after sustaining an ankle injury in the club's final pre-season friendly but Nigel Adkins looks set to hand competitive team debuts to Nathaniel Clyne, Steven Davis and Jay Rodriguez, who signed from Crystal Palace, Rangers and Burnley respectively.
The Saints are in discussions with Gaston Ramirez, of Bologna, but will not complete the deal in time for him to feature.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester City dropped just two points at the Etihad Stadium last season.
- They are on a run of 29 Premier League home games undefeated, with 27 of those wins.
- It is a clash of the goalscoring titans. City top scored in the Premier League with 93 goals, whilst Nigel Adkins' (right) men top scored in the Championship with 85.
- Southampton could struggle to win this match on the basis that only one newly promoted side - Blackpool - have won their opening game in the last three seasons.
- However, the last 16 Premier League fixtures between these two has seen the away side victors on seven occasions, whilst the home side have won only four.
- The last match between the pair in the top flight was five years ago.
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Top 3 Predictions
Manchester City 3-0 Southampton
- 13.71 %
Manchester City 4-0 Southampton
- 10.65 %
Manchester City 8-0 Southampton
- 8.21 %
|Premier League (EPL)||5 Apr 2014||Manchester City 4 - Southampton 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||7 Dec 2013||Southampton 1 - Manchester City 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||9 Feb 2013||Southampton 3 - Manchester City 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||19 Aug 2012||Manchester City 3 - Southampton 2|
|16 Apr 2014||Manchester City 2 - Sunderland 2||EPL|
|13 Apr 2014||Liverpool 3 - Manchester City 2||EPL|
|5 Apr 2014||Manchester City 4 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|29 Mar 2014||Arsenal FC 1 - Manchester City 1||EPL|
|25 Mar 2014||Manchester United 0 - Manchester City 3||EPL|
|34||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|
|6||Jose Rocha Fonte||Defender|
|21||Guilherme Do Prado||Midfielder|
Without wanting to sound obvious, the man who scored 23 Premier League goals in his debut season will have to get off to a flyer if City want to defend their crown.
The former Sunderland goalkeeper should be very busy and if he wants his side to get off the mark in their first game back then he will have to be on top, top form.