Southampton looked in deep trouble at the start of December, coming out of a 1-0 defeat to Cardiff to make it 12 Premier League games without a win and leaving them in a perilous position. However, fast forward to the end of the month and they’ve made something of a recovery under Ralph Hassenhuttl.
The Saints may have lost at home to West Ham on Thursday, but they beat both Arsenal and Huddersfield prior to that. They have banished their goalscoring woes and netted 7 times in their last 3 outings, pushing them up to 16th and giving them a 3 point cushion on the relegation zone.
They are far from safe at this stage of the season though. They have tough games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Leicester, and Everton coming up over the next month and know that a couple of bad results could plunge them back into the relegation zone.
One major positive is that they are coming into a game against Manchester City at possibly the best time. The Citizens have crumbled in remarkable fashion over the festive period, losing at home to Crystal Palace and away to Leicester to shunt them down to 3rd in the table. They are now 7 points adrift of leaders Liverpool, and this is the first time they have lost back to back Premier League matches since February 2016.
Manchester City’s problems started a while back though. Their defeat to Chelsea highlighted some key defensive problems, and confidence at the back has plummeted after conceding 8 goals in just 4 matches. In fact, they haven’t kept a league clean sheet in over a month and have conceded in 8 of their last 9 league games.
Southampton, for all their earlier goal-scoring woes, have found the net at least once in 8 of their last 9 outings and in each of their last 4 at home. 6 of their 9 home outings have seen at least 3 goals too, while Manchester City have seen 3 or more scored in each of their last 9 league games. This makes a high scoring affair look very likely, so we’re backing Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams to Score here.
Considering Southampton’s recent fine showings and Manchester City’s rather tumultuous Christmas, we actually fancy The Saints to get something here, so we’re also opting for a 2-2 correct score predictions on Sunday.