Premier League
Man CityManchester City3SouthamptonSouthampton1

Manchester City 3-1 Southampton

By Mandeep SangheraBBC Sport
Man City's Kevin de Bruyne (left) starts to celebrate after his fourth goal of the season
Kevin de Bruyne (left) starts to celebrate after his fourth league goal of the season

Manchester City got their Premier League title challenge back on track with a win over Southampton.

Raheem Sterling crossed for Kevin de Bruyne to slot the hosts ahead before City midfielder Fernandinho's header appeared to strike Steven Davis' arm.

Fabian Delph added the home side's second with a deflected shot but Shane Long nodded in to give Saints hope.

Long had a penalty appeal turned down before Aleksandar Kolarov fired in City's third with an angled strike.

Fernandinho appeared to block Long's shot with his arm after City keeper Willy Caballero had palmed away an effort from Dusan Tadic.

City, whose earlier shout for a spot-kick was equally as strong, took advantage by restoring their two-goal lead as they bounced back after defeats by Liverpool in the Premier League and Juventus in the Champions League.

City learn Liverpool lessons

Man City response pleases Pellegrini

City struggled to cope with the high-pressing tactics of Liverpool when they were beaten 4-1 by the Reds last weekend but the boot was on the other foot against Southampton.

The hosts raced out of the blocks and Saints struggled to cope with the way City closed them down with an intensity and urgency.

Sterling dispossessed Maya Yoshida on the way to setting up the home side's opener, while Southampton were also their own worst enemy by giving the ball away on a regular basis.

"We started very strong, especially in the first 25 minutes," said City boss Manuel Pellegrini. "I was very pleased with the team's reaction.

"We were a little nervous until the third goal, but I'm happy with the performance and the result."

City's average positions just after the half hour mark show how high up they were pressing a Southampton side who were penned back
City's average positions just after the half hour mark show how high up they were pressing a Southampton side who were penned back

The boy's a bit special

A lot of eyebrows were raised when Manchester City paid £55m for De Bruyne but the midfielder is proving well worth the money so far this season.

He has scored seven goals for City and he continued to make a telling impact in this win over Southampton.

The Belgium international had a tap-in to score City's opener before it was his corner which led to Delph's goal, which wrong-footed Saints keeper Maarten Stekelenburg after a deflection off Virgil van Dijk.

De Bruyne also showed great composure when he delayed a cross to pick out an unmarked Kolarov at the far post for the third goal.

I thought Southampton were good away from home?

Southampton went into the game aiming to equal their top-flight club record of seven successive away matches without defeat.

Their previous loss on their travels was in the corresponding fixture on the final day of last season but, while they gave City a scare, they failed to recover from a slow start.

The visitors, who had seen a Van Dijk shot come back off the crossbar in the first half, improved after the break and they might have salvaged something from the game had Tadic's attempted chip beaten Caballero with the score at 2-1.

"At least in the second half we played good football," said Saints boss Ronald Koeman. "We had a big chance through Tadic to make it 2-2. These are key moments to get something out of the game."

Man of the match

Man City attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne has scored or assisted nine goals in six Premier League appearances for Man City at the Etihad (three goals, six assists)

What they said:

Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph: "It was a very important game. We needed to bounce back. It was about giving the reaction to the manager. We did that today, and we'll go home happy.

"It was very sweet to get my first goal, and I hope things can keep pushing on."

Southampton lacked focus - Koeman

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman: "We had a bad start. If you make those kind of mistakes against City you lose the game.

"We made them strong because we lost so many balls when building up from the back."

The stats you need to know

  • Since the start of last season, Kevin de Bruyne has made more assists than any other player in Europe's top five leagues (26).
  • Raheem Sterling has had a hand in five goals in his past four Premier League matches against Southampton (three goals, two assists).
  • Fabian Delph scored his first Premier League goal for Manchester City in his fifth appearance.
  • Shane Long has netted three goals in his last five Premier League starts for Southampton.

What next?

Manchester City are at home to Hull City in the League Cup quarter-final on Tuesday, while Southampton also play in the last eight of the same competition on Wednesday when they host Liverpool.

Line-ups

Man City

  • 13Caballero
  • 3Sagna
  • 26DemichelisBooked at 56mins
  • 30Otamendi
  • 11KolarovBooked at 90mins
  • 25Fernandinho
  • 18DelphSubstituted forRegesat 70'minutes
  • 17De Bruyne
  • 42Y Touré
  • 7SterlingSubstituted forSilvaat 75'minutes
  • 10AgüeroSubstituted forBonyat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Reges
  • 14Bony
  • 15Navas
  • 21Silva
  • 22Clichy
  • 29Wright
  • 72Iheanacho

Southampton

  • 22Stekelenburg
  • 3Yoshida
  • 6José FonteSubstituted forCaulkerat 36'minutes
  • 17van Dijk
  • 21Bertrand
  • 12Wanyama
  • 10Mané
  • 16Ward-ProwseBooked at 55minsSubstituted forJuanmiat 77'minutes
  • 14RomeuSubstituted forTadicat 45'minutes
  • 8Davis
  • 7Long

Substitutes

  • 1Davis
  • 4Clasie
  • 11Tadic
  • 15Martina
  • 20Juanmi
  • 23Ramírez
  • 26Caulker
Referee:
Roger East
Attendance:
54,102

Match Stats

Home TeamMan CityAway TeamSouthampton
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home16
Away12
Shots on Target
Home9
Away8
Corners
Home6
Away4
Fouls
Home14
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester City 3, Southampton 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester City 3, Southampton 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Sadio Mané (Southampton) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Dusan Tadic.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Southampton. Shane Long tries a through ball, but Dusan Tadic is caught offside.

  5. Booking

    Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.

  6. Post update

    Sadio Mané (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

  8. Post update

    Offside, Southampton. Dusan Tadic tries a through ball, but Victor Wanyama is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Victor Wanyama (Southampton) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

  11. Post update

    Offside, Manchester City. Kevin De Bruyne tries a through ball, but Wilfried Bony is caught offside.

  12. Post update

    Sadio Mané (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Fernando (Manchester City).

  14. Post update

    Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Martín Demichelis (Manchester City).

  16. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Willy Caballero.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Sadio Mané (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dusan Tadic.

  18. Post update

    Sadio Mané (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Fernando (Manchester City).

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.