Southampton salvaged a draw after a passionate performance at the Etihad stadium as they survived City’s late attacking spells. Nathan Redmond put the visitors in front after a horrible pass from Stones. Though, Iheanacho brought City back to life in the second half but, it was not good enough to break the gritty Southampton defense twice and the visitors got a deserved point after an amazing performance. Claude Puel has his tactics on point as Southampton defended like warriors in the first half which forced Pep to take Kevin de Bruyne off during the half time break. City started off brightly in the second half. The introduction of Iheanacho brought them back to life but, Southampton’s defense was too good to concede yet another goal.
1. Vincent Kompany is finally back
The skipper was sorely missed by the Citizens in the last few games especially, against Barcelona but he finally back from his injury and got his first start today. Kompany had a great game overall but was substituted for Navas as City pushed for a winner. His comeback is a huge boost for City and it’s defense which has found it tough to keep clean sheets so far. City are still on the top of the table but now the lead is only due to goal difference and they will have to improve their defense drastically if they want to stay put. They face West Brom next away from home who have a good defensive record as well. City will have to be rock solid at the back if they want to grab all the three points and break the run of poor results.
2. City’s Poor Form Continues
Manchester City are now winless in their last 5 games as they drew yet another game after last week’s fiasco. The club looked unbeatable after winning 10 on the trot in the league. But, now a streak of draws and losses (5 in a row to be precise) and the game against Manchester United midweek is not making things any better. Pep Guardiola will have to turn things around against Manchester United who are going through a rough patch of their own as well. Pep has a lot of homework to do as of now and will have to assess the shortcomings especially the defense which was horrible against Barcelona. Even today, Stones made a blunder today which cost 3 points to his side. Pep is in for a very hectic week as they face United then West Brom and then host Barcelona within 10 days.
3. John Stones’ Mistake made life tough
Twenty-Seven minutes into the game with Southampton’s defending and pressing on point John Stones made a horrible backpass to Kompany which was easily cut out by Redmond and easily got the ball past a helpless Bravo. John Stones pass was a playmaker giving a through ball to his striker, totally served the goal on the platter for Redmond who made no mistake. Stones’ performances will have to improve and such mistakes are totally unforgivable at this level of the game. Vincent Kompany is now back and Nicolas Otamendi in a good form , Stones’ starting berth would be in jeopardy now. If Stones doesn’t step up in the next few games he should be ready to face a long time warming the bench.
4. Southampton on the right track with Puel
Saints are on the right track finally as Puel’s tactics are finally paying off after a horrible start to the season. Saints sit a good 8th in the table just a point behind Manchester United who have a game in hand. The Southampton has defended in the past few games it has been sensational and on top of that Charlie Austin’s form is an icing on the cake. Claude Puel has finally gelled his side really well and the tactics have been on point, crowding the midfield with 5 midfielders while defending: taking a leaf of Pochhetino’s diary. This has been the best first half of Southampton so far and was just too hot for City to handle. City looked clueless in attack and even their best player of the season so far Kevin de Bruyne failed to spark life into his struggling side. Southampton are on the right track and will probably achieve their target of qualifying for Europa for the third time in a row most probably.
5. Iheanacho the Saviour
Many were taken by surprise as Pep replaced de Bruyne at halftime with Iheanacho but the change totally paid off. Iheanacho brought his side back to life and scored a goal within 10 minutes of the second half and earned a point for his team. Iheanacho created lots off chances, making deep runs into the Southampton box causing all sorts of trouble for Fonte and McQueen. He wasn’t able to inspire his team to victory but surely changed the whole course of the game after a poor first half performance. The Southampton which was rock solid in the first half, Iheanacho troubled them a lot as City’s late surge for the winner went in vain though as Southampton totally parked the bus making it hell for City. Iheanacho surely was the Man of the Match today for Manchester City and I think he may get an outing against United midweek in the Cup game.