Men's Team

Dias returns as City make one change for trip to Southampton

Dias returns as City make one change for trip to Southampton
Ruben Dias returns as City make one change for this evening’s latest Premier League assignment away to Southampton.

Pep Guardiola brings Dias back into the starting XI in the only switch from the side that beat Chelsea 1-0 in last weekend’s top of the table clash at the Etihad.

The Portuguese centre half is restored to the side in place of John Stones and will skipper City at the St Mary’s Stadium.

Stones reverts to the bench with Nathan Ake also back in the City matchday squad after recovering from the injury that forced him to miss the Chelsea game.

Teams

CITY XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias (c), Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden, Grealish, Sterling

Subs: Carson, Slicker, Stones, Ake, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Jesus, McAtee, Wilson-Esbrand

SOUTHAMPTON: Forster, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud, Romeu, Ward-Prowse (c), Redmond, S Armstrong, Adams, Broja

Subs: Cabellero, Valery, Stephens, Lyanco, Diallo, Elyounoussi, Walcott, Long, A Armstrong

WATCH: Bernardo: You have to prove yourself every day at City

Formation

It once again looks as if City will be deployed in our favoured 4-3-3 formation.

With Ederson in goal, the Brazilian keeper will be shielded by a back four of Kyle Walker, Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo.

Rodrigo looks set to once again assume the key holding midfield role with Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva also in the City engine room.

Meanwhile, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling are primed to form the attacking trident, though who plays through the middle remains to be seen.

Landmark in sight

There’s the potential for Pep Guardiola to record yet another hugely significant managerial landmark this afternoon.

WATCH: Southampton v City: Top five goals
English Premier League
1 Manchester City Man City 37 28 6 3 96 24 72 90 WWWWD
2 Liverpool Liverpool 37 27 8 2 91 25 66 89 WWDWW
3 Chelsea Chelsea 36 20 10 6 73 31 42 70 WDLDW

The City boss goes into the game on a tally of 499 Premier League points accrued so far during his illustrious Etihad tenure.

A point at St Mary’s Stadium would be enough to see the Catalan bring up the 500 tally despite him having only been at the City helm for five and a half years.

Speaking ahead of the game, the City boss stressed that his focus was solely trained on seeing to overcame the threat of Southampton with City targeting what would be a 13th consecutive Premier League win.

But should Guardiola achieve the 500 landmark this afternoon, it would see him become the fastest manager to reach that tally - and stand as another remarkable achievement from a magnificent managerial reign that has seen a host of English records rewritten in recent years.

Stats and facts

• City have won 12 Premier League games in a row by an aggregate score of 34-7. The 36 points we have accrued since losing to Crystal Palace in October is 13 more than any other side in the division.
• The only team to win as many as 12 successive top-flight matches in a season and not go on to win the title was Preston North End in 1891-92.
• City have won the last 19 league fixtures in which we have scored first.
• Our 13 clean sheets is a top-flight high this season. Only two of the 13 goals conceded by City have come before half-time, the fewest in the division.
• City have conceded just two goals from set pieces this season (one penalty, one from a corner), three fewer than any other side.
• Southampton's current seven-match unbeaten home league streak is their longest since a run of nine between March and October 2016.
• Their only defeat in 10 home league fixtures this season came against Wolves in September.
• The Saints have won their last two Premier League home games against sides starting the day top of the table, having beaten Everton and Liverpool last season.
• After keeping five clean sheets in eight league games between September and November, they have conceded in each of their last 10 top-flight matches.
• James Ward-Prowse has scored 12 direct free-kicks in the Premier League, a total bettered only by David Beckham's 18.

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