Not won in four, failed to score in two of them, and, if the press are to be believed, whenever Guardiola benches a player or simply doesn’t pick them – for any reason – that reason is because they will be sold.
City, apparently, are heading for one hell of a fire-sale soon; Caballero must have let out a sigh of relief after Bravo was sent off – he’d not been picked for a while. Of course, Bravo is free to play in the match versus Southampton, and, in all likelihood, will. So, too, I suspect Agüero, which undoubtedly will confuse journalists up and down the country.
This is the 39th home league meeting between the two sides, stretching back all the way to the 16th October 1926 (we were both in (the old) Second Division back then, with City ultimately missing out on promotion by 0.006 goals – very typical of them), and we lost.
More recently, however, City have won every home match versus Southampton since 2004, and of course we must do so again.
Taking a look at Southampton, Austin is far away their best attacking threat with a goal every 92 minutes from 2.9 shots per game. But that is overall, his away form has been much worse to the tune of double; a goal every 180 minutes from 1.7 shots per game.
Mind you, only Sterling, Gündogan, and Iheanacho fair better at home for City. However collectively, overall, Southampton have had more shots per game than City have had, 18.3 to 17.1, with a staggering 10 of those from inside the penalty area.
It will be interesting to see if Guardiola returns to a floating back four, or keeps the pretty solid back three (I say ‘solid’ in a positional sense as opposed to not conceding), and whether Agüero will play from the start – part of me would like to think he won’t just because Pep wants to mess with the media.
The scoreline aside (appreciating that the result does matter), City played very well against Barcelona, and it was only individual errors that let the side down – you cannot dictate for a slip at precisely the wrong time, in precisely the wrong place, and the ball to fall at the feet of precisely the wrong player – but Bravo should have known better. Hell, even school children would know better.
But here is a question for you: when you watch a team that is implementing a new system, and, for the most part are doing it very well, do errors stand out even more, or is the process of learning a new system to blame (meaning that this will, in time, disappear)?