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Southampton V Man City at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview
Published : 08 Feb 2013 15:31:33Rss feed
Southampton V Man City - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Shaw a concern
Southampton left-back Luke Shaw is a doubt for the clash with reigning Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.
The 17-year-old picked up a ligament issue ahead of his England Under-21s debut against Sweden in midweek, while fellow full-back Nathaniel Clyne, another to drop out of the Young Lions' squad, may also be unavailable.
Gaston Ramirez and Guly do Prado are also possibly out, while Jose Fonte is sidelined. Adam Lallana could make his first start since suffering a knee injury on December 8 and January acquisition Vegard Forren could make his debut.
Lallana believes Mauricio Pochettino has already "put his footprint" on the team in the few weeks he has been in charge.
Despite having not yet secured a first win in English football, the former Espanyol manager's team have attracted plaudits from fans and pundits alike.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson even said Saints were the best team to have visited Old Trafford this season but Pochettino's side lost on the night - something Lallana knows cannot continue.
"We approach the Man City game how we have approached our previous three games under him," the left winger said.
"There have been some positive performances, we just want to turn them into points because that is the only way we're going to get up the table.
"If they've not got Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, they've got Micah Richards or name after name.
"They have top quality international players in their team but those kind of players that you relish.
"If I am up against Zabaleta, that's that. I will have to deal with and look forward to it."
Yaya Toure will return to the Manchester City line-up.
Toure, and brother Kolo, are back at City earlier than expected after Ivory Coast failed to get past the last eight of the African Nations Cup.
Skipper Vincent Kompany (calf) could also make his comeback as the Blues look to end a run of two successive draws.
The fact remains unless City complete another great escape in the Premier League and again overhaul a hefty deficit to Manchester United, they will end up with only the FA Cup to play for, having made zero progress on the European front.
It is hard to imagine owner Sheikh Mansour being too impressed about that given his vast investment and knowing Jose Mourinho is likely to be looking for a job in the summer.
But Mancini believes some satisfaction can be gained from the campaign, even if City lose their status as England's number one club.
"It is important we are there, on the top and fighting for the title every year," he said.
"If another team is better than you, you should accept it.
"But I don't think anyone has played better than us over the last two years.
"Manchester United are a strong team, so are Chelsea but in the last two years Manchester City is the team that played better in the Premier League.
"We are unlucky because we lost players in January to the African Nations Cup.
"But last year no one believed we could win the title and in the end we won. This year could be the same."
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