Manchester City will lock horns with a struggling Southampton side in the Carabao Cup Round of 16 stages at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.
Current holders Manchester City will be hoping to take a step closer to retaining the Carabao Cup when they go head to head against Ralph Hassenhuttl’s Southampton side at the Etihad.
Manchester City entered the competition at the third round and made light work of Preston North End, beating them 3-0 to book a place in the Last 16 stages. Coming into the game on the back of a 3-0 win against Aston Villa in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s men will be intent on not missing a footing here as they look to qualify for the quarter-finals, especially with their chances of retaining the league title already looking dented.
Southampton, on the other hand, started in the Carabao Cup in the second round and overcame Fulham (0-1) and Portsmouth (0-4) away from home to get to the Round of 16. However, the Saints are without a win in four matches (D1 L3), with their most recent fixture ending in a 0-9 humiliation at the hands of Leicester City. Manager Hassenhuttl will be hoping that his side produce a strong response to that thrashing on Tuesday.
Ahead of the Carabao Cup clash between Manchester City and Southampton, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Pep Guardiola has been handed more problems in defence, with Fernandinho suspended for the Southampton game after receiving a red card against Aston Villa. The Manchester City manager is already without Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Leroy Sane.
Guardiola might use this fixture to give some minutes to Nicolas Otamendi, who has recently returned from an injury. There is a strong possibility that either of Eric Garcia or Taylor Harwood-Bellis could feature in defence, with John Stones likely to be rested. Kyle Walker and Angelino are in line to start as the full-backs, with Claudio Bravo manning the goal.
Ilkay Gundogan has become an indispensable figure at the base of the midfield for Manchester City and is expected to feature from kick-off once again on Tuesday night. Youngster Phil Foden should get a starting berth in the middle, while Bernardo Silva could move into a central role, with captain David Silva unlikely to start two games in three days.
Riyad Mahrez wasn’t involved in the Villa fixture and should start on the right side of Manchester City’s attack, while Raheem Sterling is expected to continue on the opposite side, given the form that he is in. Star striker Sergio Aguero should return to the starting XI to spearhead the Cityzens’ attack against the Saints.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bravo; Walker, Garcia, Otamendi, Angelino; Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, Foden; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
Southampton also have a player suspended for the trip to the Etihad, with left-back Ryan Bertrand out of the clash after being sent off against Leicester. Summer signing Moussa Djenepo remains an injury-enforced absentee along with Cedric Soares.
Hassenhuttl is likely to stick with the 3-5-2 setup that he fielded against Leicester City, although it could very easily take the shape of a 5-3-2 as Southampton look for defensive solidity after the hammering at the weekend. Former Manchester City man Angus Gunn will make way for Alex McCarthy in goal for the Saints, while there will be a couple of changes in defence too.
Summer arrival Kevin Danso is expected to slot in as the left-sided wing-back in the absence of Bertrand, while Yan Valery should continue on the opposite side. Jan Bednarek is likely to make way for Jack Stephens, with Maya Yoshida and Jannik Vestergaard holding on to their spots in the three-man defence.
Oriol Romeu is expected to continue as the holding midfielder for Southampton, with support coming from captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Former Celtic star Stuart Armstrong could get a start as the third midfielder, replacing James Ward-Prowse on the night.
Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond started in attack against Leicester, but could be set to make way for Shane Long and summer signing Che Adams at the Etihad on Tuesday.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): McCarthy; Stephens, Yoshida, Vestergaard; Valery, Armstrong, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Danso; Long, Adams
- The last time Manchester City and Southampton met in a cup competition was way back in January 2007, in a FA Cup clash, which the Cityzens won 3-1 at home.
- Manchester City have lost just one of their last 12 meetings with Southampton (W9 D2), winning all of their previous five matches against them.
- In fact, Manchester City have not lost a single game on their home ground against Southampton since way back in 2004 (W8 D1).
- Southampton head into Tuesday’s game having won just one of their last six matches (D1). In this run of fixtures, the Saints have conceded as many as 19 goals, while scoring 8.
- Manchester City have notched up three wins in a row across all competitions following their Premier League defeat to Wolves. Guardiola’s side have netted 10 goals in these three fixtures, while conceding just once.
Player to Watch
Manchester City starlet Phil Foden may be regarded as one of the finest young talents in England, but the 19-year-old has struggled for game time in a side studded with star players in the middle of the park. The teenager has started just two games across all competitions in the 2019-20 season and has clocked up just 197 minutes on the field, scoring and assisting one goal apiece.
Seeing some of his contemporaries like Mason Mount and Harvey Barnes establish themselves as regulars and play week in week out for Chelsea and Leicester City respectively, will not be easy for Foden. And he will be intent on making the most of whatever rare opportunity that comes his way in the Manchester City starting lineup.
Manchester City 3-0 Southampton
Manchester City seem to have shaken off the defeat to Wolves and have looked very strong in their last three matches, notching up important wins. Southampton, on the other hand, have struggled to string together a good run of results and the weekend thrashing at the hands of Leicester City will have had a demoralising effect on the team.
Pep Guardiola will rotate his troops on Tuesday night and while there are some vulnerabilities at the back, this Manchester City side is too good in attack and should have plenty in the tank to see off any challenge that Ralph Hassenhuttl’s team might pose. We at The Hard Tackle are predicting a straightforward 3-0 win for the current Carabao Cup holders.