For Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini, the equation is simple: win their remaining eight Premier League games and they will lift the title for the second time in three seasons. City have been sublime at home in the league - winning all but one of their 14 games at Etihad Stadium and scoring 48 goals in the process.
That home form could go a long way to deciding the destination of the Premier League trophy - though Pellegrini’s men do still have to travel to Liverpool and Everton.
The form of Yaya Toure has underpinned City’s title charge. Toure has scored 17 league goals from central midfield - plugging the gap left by the injury to Sergio Aguero. In fact, were it not for Luis Suarez’s exceptional season, the Ivorian would be favourite to land the PFA Player of the Year award come the end of the season.
Southampton, enjoying an impressive season under Mauricio Pochettino, should prove tricky opposition. The Saints are the only team to win at Anfield this season and have lost only six of their 16 league games on the road since the start of the campaign.
England trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez have been excellent in recent weeks, scoring nine of Southampton’s last 11 Premier League goals. Rodriguez has contributed five of those and is inching himself ever closer to a space in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad. One suspects that Rodriguez, plus his team-mates, must be on top form again to prevent anything but a home victory in Saturday’s early kick-off.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 12.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Southampton 1 (Osvaldo) Manchester City 1 (Aguero), Premier League, December 2013
Southampton 3 (Puncheon, Davis, Barry og) Manchester City 1 (Dzeko), Premier League, February 2013
Manchester City 3 (Tevez, Dzeko, Nasri) Southampton 2 (Lambert, Davis), Premier League, August 2012
Saturday’s fixture is the 80th between the teams in all competitions. Southampton have won 30 of the previous 79, five more than City.
City have won 70 of their last 90 home league matches - averaging 2.46 points per game over that period.
Jay Rodriguez (15), Rickie Lambert (10) and Adam Lallana (nine) have scored 34 of Southampton’s 49 league goals this season.
Southampton have won only one of the last six games between the teams in all competitions.
Manchester City to win: 1.30
Southampton to win: 9.50
Manchester City 3-2 Southampton, Premier League, August 2012
Having sealed the 2011/12 Premier League title with the most thrilling of victories against Queens Park Rangers, Manchester City began their defence of the trophy with another entertaining win, this time over newly-promoted Southampton.
Like against QPR three months before, City had to do it the hard way. After Carlos Tevez had given the hosts the lead just before half-time, Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis netted in quick succession to put the visitors in front midway through the second half. But Edin Dzeko quickly restored parity and Samir Nasri drove home the winner 10 minutes from time to deny the impressive Saints.
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