Our 3️⃣ points as Man City can only draw at Southampton | OneFootball
Our 3️⃣ points as Man City can only draw at Southampton
Manchester City’s Premier League winning streak came to an end when they drew away at Southampton on Saturday evening.
Here’s what we made of the action from St Mary’s …
A chink in the armour?
When a team with City’s quality goes on a 12-match winning streak, perhaps it’s natural for people to start believing their games are a foregone conclusion.
But sometimes good players have off days. Sometimes the underdog outperforms expectations. Sometimes the ball simply doesn’t go in.
This match was a timely reminder (if one was required) that Pep Guardiola’s side aren’t invincible, that they do have weaknesses, that Premier League matches are never easy, and that this title race is not done and dusted yet.
Southampton were by far the better team in the first half, while City dominated much of the second, and a draw was a fair result in the end.
If Liverpool win at Crystal Palace on Sunday and beat Leeds at Anfield in their game in hand, the gap between them and the top of the table will be a manageable six points with a trip to the Etihad to come in April.
This is still City’s title to lose, but football matches and title races don’t always pan out as you expect them to.
Southampton boss Ralf Hasenhüttl punched the air in delight at the final whistle and it’s a great point for his side, even if three looked firmly within their grasp for the first hour or so.
This is the second time this season Saints have held the champions to a draw and Hasenhüttl can be extremely proud of the effort, desire and organisation his players showed in both encounters.
If one player epitomised their grit in this game, it was Mohamed Salisu.
The Ghanian defender was a rock in the centre of defence who thwarted countless City attacks, finishing the match with the most tackles, most interceptions, most clearances, most duels won and most touches on the pitch.
His reported rejection of a call-up for the Africa Cup of Nations was Ghana’s loss and Southampton’s gain and at just 22-years-old, he looks to have a really bright future ahead of him.
De Bruyne’s resurgence is good and bad news for City
A week after his match-winning goal against Chelsea, this was another game where Kevin De Bruyne looked back to his best for the champions.
The Belgian assisted Aymeric Laporte’s equaliser with a great cross into the box and was very unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself when his stunning strike rattled the post.
De Bruyne in this kind of form can only be a good thing for City, but it does come at a cost.
Because having been in Player of the Year contender form in the early months of the season, Bernardo Silva’s level appears to have dropped in recent weeks and he was very quiet again here.
For some reason, the Portuguese always seems to perform better when he’s partnered by İlkay Gündoğan in midfield, but De Bruyne’s resurgence has seen Gündoğan dropped the bench, and Bernardo doesn’t look like quite the same player anymore.
Time will tell whether it’s a genuine problem for Guardiola or just a coincidence.
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