City return to Premier League action on Sunday with the visit of Southampton...
We analyse the topics for discussion ahead of the clash...
The visit of Mark Hughes’ Southampton offers City’s mean machine of a defence another opportunity to further extend our impenetrable Blue wall.
Incredibly, the last time an opposition side scored against City in the league was back on September 1 when Newcastle visited the Etihad.
Since then, City have kept six successive clean sheets in the league.
Should we record another shut-out against the Saints this afternoon, it would represent a new club record.
2Record breaker Laporte
Aymeric Laporte will be looking to further extend his remarkable record-breaking start to his City career against Southampton.
Laporte, 24, made it 19-consecutive Premier League starts without defeat in the 1-0 win at Tottenham on Monday, the longest a new player has gone without tasting defeat in the English top flight.
It’s now 17 wins and two draws in Laporte’s 19 games, a remarkable record that underlines his growing importance.
Pep Guardiola for one is no doubt as to Laporte’s special qualities.
“His quality and mentality. He wants to learn. He didn't play the World Cup, so he was refreshed. Not being with France means he was fresh. He is playing at a high level and we are so satisfied with him so far,” said the City manager.
The Southampton match marks the second in a demanding stretch of four home encounters in 10 days for Guardiola’s side.
Having made 10 changes for last Thursday’s Carabao Cup encounter with Fulham, which itself came just 72 hours after our vital 1-0 win at Spurs, the boss is likely to ring the changes again on Sunday to keep minds and legs as fresh as possible.
With a Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk and the small matter of the Manchester derby also looming, it’s the busiest and most important segment of the season so far.
Which is why the depth and quality of City’s first team squad is now coming to the fore.
Pep has admitted it’s almost important to please all of his players as some are inevitably frustrated at missing out.
But this stretch of matches should ensure that the majority get a decent amount of game time and a chance to prove their worth.
After spending the first couple of months bedding in at City following his summer move from Leicester, Riyad Mahrez has really come to the fore over the past few weeks.
His crucial winning goal at Tottenham was his fifth since he joined us and again proved he is the man for the big occasion.
The 27-year-old has now claimed five goals and an assist in the last eight games with Mahrez now established as a key member of Guardiola’s squad.
Indeed, it’s no coincidence that Guardiola has selected the Algerian to start City’s three key league fixtures of the season so far… away at Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.
He could prove a vital figure once more as we look to break down Southampton's back-line.
5Gab to strike?
Anyone who saw Gabriel Jesus’s display against Fulham in the Carabao Cup must still be wondering what he has to do to score.
The Brazilian was terrific all evening long, marrying his prodigious work-rate with a fine individual display as he led the City attack with gusto.
Indeed, the only thing missing from an otherwise faultless resume was a goal – and that wasn’t for the lack of trying.
One thing is for sure however. If Jesus carries on in that style, the goals will come – and sooner rather than later.