Men's Team

City v Southampton: Sterling set for 200th league appearance

City v Southampton: Sterling set for 200th league appearance
Raheem Sterling will make his 200th Premier League appearance for Manchester City as he returns to the starting XI to face Southampton.

The winger is one of five changes Pep Guardiola has made for the Saints’ visit to the Etihad Stadium, with Kyle Walker, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus also coming into the side.

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Nathan Ake, who suffered the loss of his father earlier this week, retains his place having scored in the 6-3 win over RB Leipzig on Wednesday, but Kevin De Bruyne, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez all drop to the bench.

Rodrigo and Oleksandr Zinchenko both miss out due to injury, as do John Stones and Aymeric Laporte and it means the substitutes bench is a mix of youth and experience.

Cole Palmer is joined in the matchday squad by Luke Mbete, Romeo Lavia and Josh Wilson-Esbrand, who are all yet to make their debut.

TEAMS

CITY: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Fernandinho (C), Gundogan, Bernardo, Sterling, Grealish, Jesus.

SUBS: Carson, De Bruyne, Torres, Mahrez, Foden, Mbete, Palmer, Lavia, Wilson-Esbrand.

SOUTHAMPTON: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Romeu, Ward-Prowse (C), Armstrong, Adams, Redmond, Livramento, Elyounoussi, Bednarek

SUBS: Forster, Lyanco, Perraud, Broja, Djenepo, Salisu, Tella, Diallo, Valery.

WATCH: City v Southampton: Top 5 Goals

Formation

It looks as if Guardiola will continue with the 4-3-3 system which has been so successful in recent weeks.

The big question before kick-off is, who will lead the forward line in place of Torres? Will Sterling be a like for like replacement or will Jesus return to a central position after proving so effective out wide?

It should be more straightforward in the back four, with Kyle Walker starting at right-back and Joao Cancelo switching back to the opposite flank, with Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake at centre-half.

Fernandinho replaces Rodrigo at the base of midfield and Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva will play just ahead of him.

In the front three, Grealish should resume his usual left-wing role and we’ll have to wait until kick-off to see which of Sterling or Torres plays through the middle.

WATCH: Pep braced for Southampton test

MATCH STATS AND FACTS

  • City have won eight of the past nine Premier League meetings, with the exception a 1-0 defeat at St Mary's in July 2020.
  • Southampton have gone 10 league games without a win away to City, losing nine of those fixtures.
  • Guardiola has won 219 at City. Should he win today, he equals Les McDowell's record of the most victories as manager.
  • City could become the third team in top-flight history to win four consecutive home games by at least a five-goal margin, emulating Aston Villa in 1899 and Everton in 1931.
  • We have scored 21 goals in our past four home matches in all competitions, with 13 different players on target, plus two own goals. 
  • None of our previous 47 league and cup matches has ended in a draw (W39, L8). We last drew against West Brom on 15 December.
  • Raheem Sterling is making his 200th Premier League appearance for City. He is three shy of 100 Premier League career goals, including 18 for Liverpool.
  • Sterling has been directly involved in 11 top-flight goals against Southampton, scoring seven and assisting four.
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