Man CityFA CupVS
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The Road to Wembley will become a lot closer by the end of this weekend and with both Southampton and Manchester City eyeing up the first of two trips to England’s national stadium, only one will be able to make further passage in the FA Cup.
For Southampton, a break from league matters will be a welcome one, while for Manchester City they will look to return to winning ways after playing out a bore draw away at Crystal Palace on Monday.
After looking at the best betting sites online, there are a number of markets that have taken my fancy and although there has been nothing to split these teams in the Premier League this season, I think there will be a winner in 90 minutes on Sunday.
With Southampton’s league form going against them, it does not bode all that well for the weekend and although they are capable of breaching Manchester City’s defence, I do not think they have quite enough to advance.
Which is why I have plumped for a 2-1 win for City and if this score line also grabs your attention, you can currently get odds of 19/2 (SportNation) for this to happen. A price that is very tempting indeed.
With three successive league defeats to their name, it is fair to say that preparations for this weekend’s FA Cup clash have not been ideal and after a slump in form, the Saints will need to pick themselves up before the weekend arrives.
Because after a run of five matches without a league defeat, it has turned into a trio of losses and after being of the hottest teams in the Premier League, they have now switched to one of the coldest.
However, one must not forget that Southampton have had Manchester City’s number twice already this season and with Pep Guardiola’s men failing to land a knockout blow on the Saints on two occasions, it makes their third and final meeting all the more interesting.
On the evidence of those two previous draws, it is clear to see that Southampton can frustrate their wealthier opponents. Then again, they have also lacked a cutting edge of their own.
With that said, cup football is certainly a different beast to that of the Premier League and on any given day, an upset could be lurking around the corner. The question is whether another arrives this Sunday afternoon.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the visit of Manchester City, it is the same trio of long-term absentees that manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will have to deal with and that means he cannot call upon the services of Alex McCarthy, Lysanco and Nathan Tella.
After slipping up at Crystal Palace on Monday night, the landscape of this season’s Premier League title race has taken a substantial change and although Manchester City are still at the top of the table, the advantage has now been handed over to Liverpool.
However, this weekend means little in the grand scheme of Premier League things, as Pep Guardiola’s focus will temporarily switch to the FA Cup and with this being a trophy that he and City last won in 2019, the Spaniard would love to get his hands on it once again.
To do that, he will first have to navigate past the challenge that Southampton pose and after only managing a 1-1 draw during the recent league outing between the two, more will be demanded of his players.
Then again, more is always demanded of his players and even though they gave everything against Crystal Palace at the start of the week, even that was not enough to eventually come out on top.
Ultimately, City will go into this encounter as favourites and especially when you consider Southampton’s own recent run of defeats. Although it must also be remembered, that the favourites do not always win the FA Cup.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the trip to Southampton, there is only one concern for manager Pep Guardiola to worry about and that is the likely absence of defender Ruben Dias.
When it comes to the history of these two teams, they have been equal for this season at least and with draws being recorded at both the Etihad and St Mary’s Stadium, there will have to be some form of deadlock on Sunday
In terms of their overall head-to-head record, Southampton have won on 32 occasions, Manchester City 38 and there have been 27 draws
When it comes to the venue of St Mary’s, it is one that Manchester City have already struggled at this season and after dropping two precious league points there recently, they will not be looking to exit the FA Cup at the weekend either.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in England, it means there is no longer the need to show a Vaccine Passport before attending the ground. Which means, match tickets are the only item that is required to be produced at the time of writing.
When looking at the outright odds to win this season’s edition of the FA Cup, Manchester City are the clear favourites and if they live up to that tag on Sunday, they will advance to the Semi-finals.
However, Southampton would love nothing more than to cause more recent anguish for City and with the roar of the home supporters cheering them on, this should make for a classic cup tie at St Mary’s.