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Media Watch

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Zabaleta: City return would be 'special'

MEDIA WATCH: Your Sunday round-up!

MEDIA WATCH: Your Sunday round-up!

It's your Sunday media round-up!

A word from former City defender and club legend Pablo Zabaleta plus the opposition view and predictions ahead of our clash against Southampton feature in this morning’s media watch…

READ: Which TV channel is City v Southampton on

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First up, we hear from Zaba, as the West Ham defender has recently told Arab News that it would be “special” to return to the club while praising former boss Pep Guardiola in the process.

“My heart tells me I would like to play forever but I will be 34 in January and I need to listen to my body at that time,” Zabaleta told the newspaper.

“At 34 I think it might be the right time to try something different, have a new experience.

“If I carry on playing in Europe, Italy is one of those leagues I haven’t played, but I have always been thinking about the Middle East.

“I know Pep did this and went to Qatar after playing for Barcelona and then moved into coaching. It would be nice to do that.

“I have done my B Licence, next is the A Licence. In football you never know but I’d like to keep involved, whether as a manager or off the field.

“I want to prepare myself by having those badges.

“I’m always watching football, talking about it. Whether it’s Spain, Italy, China or the Middle East. My phone is full of football apps.”

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Asked by journalist Alam Khan whether he could one day be City manager, he said: “Why not? I spent nine years at Man City, it was like a home.

“And my last meeting with Khaldoon, he said the door will be open for me to come back to City in some role, so we will see. It would be special.”

Next, we turn our attention to this afternoon’s Premier League match against the Saints.

Boss Mark Hughes spoke about his side’s formation ahead of their trip to the Etihad.

“You can go any way,” Hughes told the Daily Echo. “You can change formations, you can change personnel.

“A lot of the fundamentals we’ve been working on apply irrespective of what shape or formation we go with. It’s more about doing the fundamentals of defending correctly.

“If I feel we need an extra one in there then so be it.

“You have got to be positive in what you’re doing.

“You can go to Man City and sometimes if you get too close to them they can get a little bit angry with you and go off the leash. I went there with Stoke and scored twice against them and it made them angry and we ended up getting beat 7-2. That’s what happens.

“You have got to go there with the attitude we have worked well, our training has been good, we are in a confident frame of mind in terms of our defensive work, so let’s use that and see where it takes us.”



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Finally, we take a look at predictions ahead of the game.

This week, BBC’s Mark Lawrenson went head-to-head with band Bring Me The Horizon and both parties tip City to pick up three points in this weekend’s fixture.

Lawrenson eyes City to win 3-0, and writes: Southampton cannot buy a goal at the moment - they have only managed six from their first 10 league games.

So, their chances of getting anything out of this game will rely on their defence, and whether they can hold out at Etihad Stadium.

Saints kept a clean sheet against Newcastle and Bournemouth in their past two games, but stopping City's attack is something else entirely. I cannot see it happening.

While City fans Bring Me The Horizon also see us getting a win:  It's a tough game for us. Southampton like to play it out - if we're not on point, we could slip up. But we're so strong at home that even if they get an early goal, we can still come back. (MK) 4-1.”

That’s all for this morning’s media watch, but we will be back tomorrow with all the latest City news from the back pages!

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