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Premier League

  • April 5, 2014
  • • 7:45 AM
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 47009
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Premier League Preview: Manchester City - Southampton

Premier League Preview: Manchester City - Southampton

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Brendan Rodgers' side moved to the top of the Premier League table last weekend, but the 2011-12 champion can leapfrog its title rivals if it wins both games in hand.

Manchester City can turn up the heat on Liverpool with a victory over in-form Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Due largely to Capital One Cup, FA Cup and Champions League commitments, City has fallen off the pace at the top - with Brendan Rodgers' side taking full advantage to move four points ahead of the 2011-12 champion.

With just the Premier League left to focus on, manager Manuel Pellegrini can ill-afford any more slip-ups following last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Arsenal.

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City, which has also dropped below Chelsea but has two games in hand on the sides above it, meets Liverpool next weekend in a crucial fixture at the top, and Pellegrini will want to head into that game with a win behind his team.

With Liverpool not in action until Sunday, City has a chance to apply some pressure on the Merseysiders and they boast an impressive home record.

Pellegrini's men have made the Etihad a fortress this season, winning 13 of their 14 league games on home soil.

The solitary defeat came against Chelsea in February, but City's response has been to take 14 points from six league games since then.

Pellegrini could be without leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero this weekend, with the striker not having featured since limping out of their Champions League defeat to Barcelona in March.

Pochettino's charges - who earned a 1-1 draw at home to City, when Aguero was on target - have found their goal-scoring touch lately, hitting 10 in the last three games.

English trio Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert have been Southampton's main source of inspiration, with all three having found the net in Saturday's 4-0 win over Newcastle as they moved back  up to eighth.

Defender Luke Shaw - who could join the likes of Lallana, Rodriguez and Lambert in England's World Cup squad - feels the sky is the limit for Southampton.

"I think in the next year or so we can be challenging the top five teams," he said. "They've got to get the manager down on a long-term contract, which will probably be the first thing they try and do."

Victor Wanyama could return for Southampton following a calf problem, although Kelvin Davis (back), Nathaniel Clyne (groin) and Maya Yoshida (knee) remain sidelined.

As well as Aguero, Pellegrini also has doubts over Micah Richards and Matija Nastasic (both knee).

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Last Five Matches
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Available Squads
1Joe HartGoalkeeper
4Vincent KompanyDefender
5Pablo ZabaletaDefender
13Aleksandar KolarovDefender
26Martín DemichelisDefender
8Samir NasriMidfielder
15Jesús Navas GonzálezMidfielder
21David SilvaStriker
25FernandinhoMidfielder
42Yaya Touré Midfielder
10Edin DzekoStriker
30Costel PantilimonGoalkeeper
2Micah RichardsDefender
6Joleon LescottDefender
7James MilnerMidfielder
14Javi GarcíaMidfielder
9NegredoStriker
35Stevan JoveticStriker
25Paulo GazzanigaGoalkeeper
5Dejan LovrenDefender
6Jose Rocha FonteDefender
23Luke ShawDefender
4Morgan SchneiderlinMidfielder
8Steven DavisMidfielder
18Jack CorkDefender
20Adam LallanaMidfielder
22Calum ChambersMidfielder
-Rickie LambertStriker
9Jay RodriguezStriker
-Cody CropperGoalkeeper
2Nathaniel ClyneDefender
26Jos HooiveldDefender
12Victor WanyamaMidfielder
16James Ward-ProwseMidfielder
21Guilherme Do PradoMidfielder
40Sam GallagherStriker

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