Manchester City will look to finish off a disappointing campaign with a home victory against Ronald Koeman’s Southampton side. The hosts, who won the Premier League title on the final day of last season, have been well off the pace this year and Chelsea have deservedly won their fifth top flight championship.
Meanwhile, the visitors have exceeded all expectations this campaign after many wrote Southampton off prior to the beginning of the season. The Saints remain in a fight for the Europa League places and could sneak into the competition via the Fair Play Award scheme. We take a look at this upcoming fixture and give our thoughts on which side will come out on top in Sunday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are already in holiday mode
City are guaranteed to feature in the Champions League for the fifth successive season and many players are likely to be in ‘holiday mode’ already. Manuel Pellegrini’s side are likely to play with freedom and could cause problems for a Saints side that are still battling to finish in the top six. At the time of writing, the bookmakers are currently pricing City below even money, even though they have nothing to play for.
However, the Chilean may also decide to use this opportunity to allow some of City’s fringe players – including Bacary Sagna, Scott Sinclair and Stefan Jovetic – the chance to show off their skills. It will be interesting to see if James Milner and Yaya Toure, who are both likely to leave the club this summer, are given the chance to say their goodbyes or if they will be left out of the starting XI.
Southampton are fighting hard after an inconsistent second half of the season
The Saints have struggled throughout the later part of the season but remain in the race to secure Europa League football. Southampton are currently going through a rough patch of form, but their victories in the first half of the year have ensured that they stay in the hunt for a top six finish.
After fan favourites Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert all left for Liverpool in the summer, the Saints were written off but they have regrouped under new manager Ronald Koeman and now have an excellent platform to build on heading into next year. Even if they don’t finish in the top six this season, they have still had a great campaign.
The hosts will be looking to end the season on a high and will be very difficult to beat. Sergio Aguero is in excellent form, while Yaya Toure and James Milner shall be looking to leave impressions in their last matches for the club. Although it would be unfair to rule Southampton out, it will take an excellent, organised display if they are to get a result at the Etihad Stadium on the final day of the season.