A strange loss for Manchester City against Saints couldn’t find any opening and ended in a draw despite the noisy backing of the fans at Etihad. Manchester City did not manage a single shot on target until the 90th minute, was sloppy in passing and, a tremendous attacking line-up was lacking.
The reasons which held Manchester City to a goalless draw
No Recognized Striker
The team is without a recognized striker ever since Aguero got injured in March 2020 and then left at the end of last season. This is a problem that forced Guardiola to turn to a false 9 system that won them the Premier League and Carabao Cup last season. But the missing poacher in the box is an aspect that has led to City’s defeat against the opposition. This time Manchester City ended with a goalless draw against Southampton. As Manchester City tried to create many chances, but no one was able to convert it. Manchester City got one chance at the end of the 90th minute where Sterling followed up after substitute Phil Foden’s saved header, but he was flagged offside.
Southampton High Pressing
Manchester City is known for their Tika-Taka style of passing, but Southampton high press constrained the City’s midfielders to make a pass. Even after having world-class players in his team, Guardiola wasn’t able to use them to their best ability which resulted in the match ending in a goalless draw.
The attacking unit pressed expertly from the front and was winning Southampton real openings. Southampton put in their best performance of the season so far, drawing away against Manchester City with a penalty and VAR controversy, helping Guardiola’s side to avoid the defeat.
City look Lethargic
Pep Guardiola’s eleven didn’t come out with full potential against the Saints. Manchester City looked lethargic for a while against a well-organized and hardworking Southampton. City had to be cautious of Livramento’s frequent breaks forward down the right and Adam Armstrong was also impressed with his work on and off the ball.
Pep made three crucial changes(Phil Foden, De Bruyne, and Riyad Mahrez) to balance the side and to enhance the team efficiency in producing a chance to score, which results in the late header of Phil Foden followed strike by Sterling, but he was flagged offside.
Southampton held Man City bravely at their home turf. Guardiola will be looking to tweak his tactics to avoid another upset like this considering the tough run of fixtures they have coming up. Hassenhuttl did a great job creating a tough low block against City and relentlessly pressing on the counter. Before the end of this month, City have to play Chelsea and PSG and they will want to make a statement of intent by winning these fixtures. But the PL is and always will be unpredictable no matter how much of a tactical genius you are.