We chat to opposition legends and learn their most formidable team in sky blue – created from the players they came up against.
Beattie played for Southampton from 1998 to 2005 – scoring 76 goals in all competitions.
Starting his career at Blackburn Rovers, James Beattie moved to the Saints in 1998 after making only a handful of appearances for the Lancashire side.
It proved to be a tough first season at the Dell as the south coast side looked certain for relegation for most of the 1998/99 Premier League season – before three wins in their final three games saw them climb out of the drop zone and preserve their top-table status.
From then onwards Southampton further established themselves as a top-flight side, with Beattie providing a consistent source of goals.
The Saints then moved from The Dell to St Mary’s Stadium in 2001, and under the stewardship of Gordon Strachan, pushed on into Europe – with Beattie the Scot’s leading marksman across the latter’s two-year tenure.
And in Strachan’s only full season at the helm, in 2002/03, Beattie’s haul of 24 goals in all competitions saw him fire the Saints to eighth position in the league and into the 2003 FA Cup final – which was won 1-0 by Arsenal - seeing him also claim five England caps in 2003.
Midway through the 2004/05 campaign, he moved to Everton before further spells at Sheffield United, Rangers, Blackpool and Accrington – where he announced his retirement from playing in 2013.
Beattie faced a swathe of fantastic City players during his playing days and here he selects his most formidable sky blue opponents.
GOALKEEPER: SHAY GIVEN
Out of the goalkeepers I faced, I would have to pick Shay Given.
When I was on YTS at Blackburn, Shay was around the first team and reserves and he was brilliant.
He was just a good goalkeeper, very solid. I remember the games against Shay, too.
I remember his performances when he first went to City were brilliant – and, for me, it’s always nice to score against someone you know.
RIGHT-BACK: PABLO ZABALETA
Pablo’s a good lad. When he played, he went under the radar but he was a great player.
I’d have him at right back, definitely. He was so solid and so reliable.
Pablo was a brilliant servant for City as well and played for loads of years.
CENTRE-BACK: RICHARD DUNNE
I remember playing against Dunney when he was at City. He was a big lad, a big presence at the back.
I remember one game at Maine Road, very early into the match and he booted me and gave me a dead calf and I had to come off.
He went to clear the ball and he followed through into me and he took me out. The ball went flying into the stands.
But Dunney was tough to play against. He was just so big, strong and deceptively quick, too.
CENTRE-BACK: SYLVAIN DISTIN
I’ve got to put Sylvain Dustin in there.
I’ve had to drop Micah Richards to put him in. But I had to include him because I remember having some right tear-ups with Sylvain.
He was just a good player, very strong and could read the game well. He was very similar to Vincent Kompany, actually.
He could come out with the ball and pick a pass as well as being able to defend strongly. He was one of the first modern centre-halves.
LEFT-BACK: WAYNE BRIDGE
I used to room with Wayne at Southampton and I knew he’d go on to great things in his career.
He was a great left-back. He was an overlapping full-back.
It has got to be Wayne in my team. I know he’ll get upset if I don’t put him in!
CENTRE MIDFIELD: KEVIN HORLOCK
I remember playing against Kevin Horlock for Southampton.
He has to be in there, too – another one I’ve got to put in.
He was an impressive midfielder, a runner, who got around the pitch really well.
It was close between him and Didi Hamann but you’ve got to make tough decision when you’re a gaffer, haven’t you!
CENTRE MIDFIELD: CLAUDIO REYNA
Claudio was a good player. Very underrated.
I remember playing against him a few times.
Claudio came over from America and he was very calm in midfield and organised really well.
He was a leader, I would say.
CENTRE MIDFIELD: NIGEL DE JONG
Nigel was a very good midfielder.
I got to know him a little bit socially through the likes of Wayne Bridge and Shay Given. He was a good lad, too.
I remember him being tough tackling in the centre ground and he would sweep up really well in front of a back four.
He would be the sort of player who would win it and then give it to the more expressive players in the team.
FORWARD: NICOLAS ANELKA
I remember Nicolas Anelka being very quick – rapid!
He first came to the attention in England when he was at Arsenal and he obviously had a really good career there.
He went through dips in form at times but then he’d come good again and would show the sort of form he’d done earlier on in his career.
He was fast, could score goals, had great little touches and little movements to find space.
Nicolas Anelka was one of those players where you felt some would have that ‘wow I’m playing against him’ feeling.
FORWARD: ROBBIE FOWLER
I would get the same feeling as I did for Nicolas Anelka whenever I played against Robbie Fowler as well.
Again, Robbie will be remembered for his time with Liverpool but I recall the spell he had at City too, and he scored goals there too. Wherever he went, he knew how to score.
I just remember Robbie playing at Maine Road and the Etihad Stadium. I thought he was excellent during his time at City.
FORWARD: PAUL DICKOV
I played quite a lot against Dicky.
In my team here, Paul could play out wide but would also drift in and then support Robbie and go more centrally through the middle.
He was always tenacious, had a great spirit and utilised the attributes he had really well to have a really good career.