Story By Adam Wilson
Manchester City vs. Southampton. Match Review.
Manchester City 3-2 Southampton
A new season, a new challenge for current champions Man City. Mancini and his team of superstars may have won the title last season at the expense of their bitter rivals, but now come a perhaps greater test. Now they must retain their most prized accolade.
City’s summer in the transfer market has not been quite as extravagant as their fans may have anticipated, especially after the gluttonous way they have gone about business the past few years. Only one major signing has been made in Jack Rodwell, whereas Manchester United led by the ever determined Sir Alex Ferguson have brought in Bundesliga title winner Shinji Kagawa and last season’s Premier League’s top scorer Robin Van Persie. Whether the latter is either a statement of intent or perhaps even desperation is a discussion for another time.
Away from the Titans of the Premier League, today’s challengers Southampton have done most of their transfer business in the lower English Leagues whilst also snapping up one of the many Rangers departures. Both Nathaniel Clyne Jay Rodriguez start today. Whilst the ‘Saints’ top scorer from last season Rickie Lambert finds himself on the bench alongside other star striker Billy Sharp. The line-up gives the impression that Nigel Adkins team have come here to defend and try to catch the champions on the break.
The first major blow was one for Man City to take, Sergio Aguero fell awkwardly in a challenge and wound up being stretchered off, surprisingly his replacement was Edin Dezko and not the enigmatic Mario Ballotelli. Nevertheless City piled on the pressure early on, but found no way through. Even when David Silva had the chance to put them in front from the spot, his tame penalty was easily saved by Kelvin Davis. Just as Southampton thought they might survive unitl half time, City’s other amazing Argentine was fed through by Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez took the chance with easy.
However the second half began in a similar vein, until the introduction of Rickie Lambert who clearly had not read the script. Upon entering the field of play, Lambert re-energised and motivated Southampton and as they worked the ball into City’s box a Lescott challenge saw the ball fall kindly in front of the Striker who finished with all the ease and experience of a player that is used to scoring. Suddenly City had a game on their hands, and as they pushed forward in an attempt to score, a careless pass from Jack Rodwell left their defence exposed and 5 Southampton players took advantage of the positions left open with only three defenders left at the back, and substitute Steven Davis scored the Saints second.
Nevertheless City have mastered coming from behind in limited time, a skill they showed us on the final day of last season. In a comeback that almost mirrored their title winning match Edin Dzeko scored the equaliser and as City piled on the pressure Samir Nasri took advantage of a defensive mistake and scored the winner.
Although City won the game, Southampton by no means looked out of their league, and had their own chance to equalise late on. They may have even got more out of the game had they not made the defensive errors they did, but Adkins team look dangerous and against lesser Premier League opposition they could earn themselves the necessary points for Premier League survival. City on the other hand have got off to a good start in earning three points from a potentially dangerous situation, but their defence at times looked weak, nevertheless this is expected as teams play the opening games of the season. The question is will City be able to cope with their nerves this season in order to win the Premier League twice in succession.