City a “Free Hit”.

Saints travel to the Etihad on Wednesday to play undefeated Premier League leaders Manchester City. The Saints should be full of confidence after a good display at home last weekend, albeit against a very poor Everton team.

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Speaking to BBC Solent Sports Adam Blackmore post game Charlie Austin described the fixture as “a free hit”, and their will certainly be no pressure on the Saints, not many will expect them to come away with anything. In fact keeping the score to a minimum would be a job well done against Pep’s free scoring City side.

Following Saturdays win many will be calling for Austin and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg to keep their place in the Saints starting eleven. However I am expecting several changes from Mauricio Pellegrino, I would not be surprised to see Austin and a few others rested with this weekends trip away to Bournemouth in the back of his mind; a game Saints will be expected to win.

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With City likely to dominate possession Pellegrino may opt for either Shane Long or Manolo Gabbiadini up front and Nathan Redmond in one of the three attacking midfield roles as he looks to take advantage of the space in behind the city back line by being quick in transition as Saints look to be a threat on the counter attack.

Continuing with the theme of changes, for the last fifteen minuites vs Everton Pellegrino changed from our usual back four to a system utilising three centre halves with fullbacks playing higher up the pitch as wing backs. This is a system that has become particularly fashionable in the Premier League since Antonio Conte’s Chelsea team used it in their title winning season last year. Given the structure of the Southampton squad it is unsurprising that many fans have called for the use of a back three, Saints are blessed with a strong quartet of central defenders and possibly two of the best attacking full backs in the league. Could City away be an opportunity to experiment with this formation further?

 

Manchester City vs Southampton

Wednesday 29th November

Etihad Stadium

KO @ 8pm GMT

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