Southampton play Man City at St Mary’s Stadium, and this is a battle between second place and bottom of the table. City absolutely must win to keep up any sort of pace with Arsenal whilst Southampton are starting to run out of games. The home team are far from out of survival contention but a 0-1 defeat to rivals West Ham was a major blow. This is expected to be a routine away win but Saints did cause a shock in the Carabao Cup by beating the Citizen’s 2-0 earlier in the season.
Using the data from their differing league campaigns so far, I’ve summarised the stats to help you pick value selections in most bet builder markets. Using the numbers alongside my Stats Pack Guide you have a much better chance of coming away with a winner with goals, shots, corners, passes, cards, and fouls markets.
Southampton manager Ruben Selles confirmed that striker Che Adams and defender Mohamed Salisu are both ruled out injured. He has a decision to make upfront where either Sekou Mara or Paul Onuachu will start. The latter, who was signed for a hefty £18m from Genk in January has yet to net for the south coast club. A 4-2-3-1 system is expected with Walker Peters and Perraud given the tough task of dealing with the City wide men.
City have a massive Champions League quarter final to look forward to vs Bayern Munich and might adjust their team selection due to such circumstances. Erling Haaland has been back in training and Pep Guardiola said he’s ‘ready to go’ but will he really be risked vs Saints from the start? Julian Alvarez could play upfront whilst Riyad Mahrez should take the right-wing spot as Phil Foden is still recovering after having his appendix removed.
Southampton goal stats don’t make for great reading. They have scored just 0.79 goals per game and conceded 1.62. They have been underachieving at both ends of the field compared to their xG and xGA metrics, but this is legitimately a bad team. Saints simply don’t find the target enough at 3.45 times per game which is one of their main weaknesses.
The south coast outfit have only averaged 4.28 corners per game which is definitely on the low side. They have conceded an average of 5.21 to their opponents. Cards have been quite middling in Saints fixtures (3.72) with a very mixed bag both for and against. With referee Paul Tierney averaging 3.57 cards per game this particular department looks difficult to predict here in east London.
Man City average a massive 2.54 goals per game and only 0.93 against. These numbers are close to their xG and xGA metrics. In fact, they are actually slightly underachieving defensively. City only concede an average of 2.07 SOT per game and have fired in a massive 16.25 attempts per fixture.
Pep Guardiola’s men are a very clean unit and have obtained just 1.25 cards per game, whilst drawing 1.25 from their opponents. It’s very similar with the corner statistics. They rack up on average 6.57 corners and conceded just 2.43 which is an extremely low amount. City really do tend to dominate and have complete control of most Premier league matches.
Player shots and shots on target
Southampton are another poor team in terms of accuracy. Sekou Mara could start this game and averages 3.19 shots per 90 mins but only 0.60 have been on target. Onuachu perhaps is another option and averages close to one SOT per 90 mins from 1.87 attempts. Walcott, Elyounoussi and Alcaraz all like to shoot but can’t be relied upon to hit the target. James Ward Prowse surprisingly only averages 1.24 shots per 90 mins despite being on penalty and set piece duty.
With Erling Haaland potentially benched and other key players possibly given a breather it would be sensible to wait until the City XI is announced before taking individual player shots and shots on target. Obvious candidates would of course be Haaland, Alvarez, De Bruyne, Mahrez and also some of the more central payer such as Rodri and Gundogan might try their luck more here. Southampton are likely to be pegged back quite a lot that opportunities from distance present themselves.
Player goals and assists
The biggest threat for Southampton is talisman James Ward-Prowse who has netted 7 goals and provided 2 assists. He is on penalty duties and also all set pieces. He is technically one of the best players in the Premier League from a dead ball situation. However, with Che Adams likely ruled out then other potential scorers for the Saints look bleak. They have desperately lacked firepower this season.
Erling Haaland is of course top of the Premier League scoring charts but if he doesn’t have many minutes here then it’s worth noting that Alvarez has netted 6 times and Kevin De Bruyne on 5 occasions. The Belgian playmaker De Bruyne has 13 assists and the likes of Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva have all chipped in this season as well.
Similar to West Ham, the man to look for in the Southampton passing market is talisman James Ward-Prowse. They only average 45.50% possession overall, but he racks up 51.5 passes per 90 mins. It is worth noting that under Ruben Selles that Saints have averaged at least 50% of the ball in all of their last four Premier League matches, including a whopping 66% vs Brentford and 57% vs West Ham last week. It is unlikely they have much of the ball here but the intention is there to try and pass it more now.
The Citizens average over 64% possession which is the most of any team in the Premier League. They will likely dominate the ball here and strong candidates to go over the 90 passes mark are Rodri and any of the centre backs such as Dias, Laporte or Stones. The danger is who might get subbed off early? It can be a dangerous game taking City players in this market if they are comfortably ahead and looking ahead to the Champions League.
Southampton cards and fouls
Romeo Lavia leads the Saints for cards with six and is the obvious candidate to get stuck in here. Both Bednarek and Ward-Prowse are also contenders to go into the referee’s book or produce at least one foul. Left back Romain Perraud might have one of the toughest matchups here against someone like Mahrez or Bernardo Silva. He averages 1.48 fouls per 90 mins and could be in for a testing afternoon.
Jack Grealish is a foul magnet and opposing players bring him down 3.58 times on average per 90 mins. He has a very high dribbling rate (4.86) and forces defenders into mistakes with his trickery and skill. Kyle Walker Peters is going to be in for a torrid evening. The City midfielders Gundogan and De Bruyne are also going to cause problems and somebody is going to have to deal with Alvarez or Haaland which might fall on Bednarek’s shoulders.
Matchups to watch
Romeo Lavia vs Kevin De Bruyne
Kyle Walker-Peters vs Jack Grealish
Romain Perraud vs Bernardo Silva
Man City cards and fouls
City are an extremely clean team and only average 1.25 cards per game. The trio of Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish all average over one foul per game so could be worth looking at in that department. It would not be a surprise if City emerge cardless from this contest in a match they dominate though.
Sekou Mara averages nearly 5 dribbles per game so could be an obvious foul magnet here. If he does start upfront and will be tricky to deal with. Both Alcaraz and Walker-Peters also have high dribbling rates so could be potentially tricky customers for City. In midfield, Lavia is fouled 2.28 times per 90 mins and is an obvious contender to get involved with challenges.
Matchups to watch
Rodri vs Romeo Lavia
Jack Grealish vs Kyle Walker-Peters
Bernardo Silva vs Romain Perraud
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Having a scan through the pack I’ve made my own picks. I’ll have them up on my Live Tips Page if you’re interested.