Sergio Che Adams first Premier League goal and an outstanding all-action display from the Saints gave City the third consecutive away defeat.
Goals: Che Adams 16′.
Southampton had had a full week to recover from their 3-1 win at Watford so their need to rest players was less pressing. Still they brought in Jack Stephens, Stuart Armstrong and Che Adams and left out Shane Long, Jannik Vestergaard and Will Smallbone.
In contrast, Manchester City made six changes in total to the team that tonked Liverpool in midweek, bringing in David and Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Joao Cancelo, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Riyad Mahrez.
Saints started confidently. They were getting plenty of crosses into the box and causing City problems. On 6th minute, Che Adams miscited the shot, it fell for Nathan Redmond inside the box, but his touch let him down and City scrambled the ball clear.
The most remarkable situation happened 10 minutes later. Zinchenko got caught in possession having picked up a pass from Ederson, who was well off his line, the ball broke for Adams, who curled the ball over City’s keeper and in from just inside City’s half. He had waited all season for a first goal for his new club, and then he got off the mark from 40 yards with a stunning goal. All the Saints players certainly looked pleased for Adams and he deserved that.
City responded with two consecutive chances. On 25th minute, Cancelo slammed in a cross from the right, which reached Jesus who had an open goal and a decent angle but almost no reaction time, and scooped over the bar. And right then, Sterling gave a great long ball over the top and volleyed across the face of goal, but his teammate Danny Ings was there to clear from under his own crossbar.
On 37th minute, Cancelo feinted his way past a couple of defenders and then fed Mahrez, who cut onto his left foot and curled a low shot towards the far post but McCarthy stacked out a leg and made the save.
The home team also had a great chance to make it two, just before the break as Walker-Peters was in the box, where Laporte had lost him entirely, but he stretched for a volley and lifted it over the bar.
After the break, City attacked more drastically. The home side’s keeper McCarthy had 2 incredible saves. On 50th minute, Fernandinho crossed from the right to Laporte, whose shot deflected into the air, and then Jesus had a header but McCarthy reached out a hand and made the stop. 3 minutes later, the Great Wall of Southampton stacked out a leg to made yet another block from a super turn from David Silva.
Then City had a double change as Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne replace Mahrez and Sterling.
In 77th minute, Ederson had his own moment. Shane Long, who had just on for the goal scorer Adams, arrived right on cue, drilled for goal, but Ederson stacked out a leg and made the save.
At the end of the match, everyone of Southamton but Shane Long was back as City sieged to their penalty area blizzardy. On 87th minute, Bernardo Silva drilled a low cross into the middle, but a mix in Saints players threw themselves at it and scrambled the ball clear. Some heroic defending got them over the line until the referee brought it to a close.
After the match, Southampton had 43 points, just three behind Burnley in ninth and finishing in the top 10 would be a phenomenal achievement.
The result left City 23 points behind Liverpool again, with manager Guardiola bemused as he reflected on a largely positive display. “We played really well but allowed mistakes in our box and they punished us a lot. Afterwards, we created a lot and we could not score. It was a little bit today resuming what happened this season in the Premier League”, he said, “We must improve, but in terms of performance, in terms of the way we played, there’s nothing to say. We attacked incredibly well and had 10 guys in the box. They scored a goal and they had one chance at the end, but no more than this. We played really, really well.”
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong (Smallbone 90’+6), Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Redmond, Ings, Adams (Long 70′).
Sub: Long, Djenepo, Obafemi, Gunn, Vokins, Danso, Jankewitz, Ferry.
Man City: Ederson, Cancelo, Garcia, Laporte, Zinchenko, Bernardo, Fernandinho, Silva, Mahrez (De Bruyne 59′), Jesus, Sterling (Foden 59′).
Sub: Bravo, Stones, Gundogan, Rodri, Otamendi, Doyle, Harwood-Bellis.