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Manchester City predicted XI to face Southampton

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Manchester City will hope to build on their dramatic 3-2 victory over Bayern Munich when they take on this year's surprise package Southampton on Sunday lunchtime.

The Saints sit second in the league, one place and two points ahead of City, having made a superb start to the season.

However, confidence in the City camp will be high following Sergio Aguero's match-winning hat-trick on Tuesday night.

Magic Aguero

Trailing 2-1 with just five minutes on the clock, City's Champions League hopes looked to be at an all time low, until Aguero turned the game on it's head with his well documented treble.

The Premier League champions were forced to overcome their German counterparts without a number of key players, but Manuel Pellegrini will have more options at his disposal when his side travel south at the weekend.

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Middle men

On Tuesday midfielders Yaya Toure and Fernandinho were absent through suspension, leaving Pellegrini with just five first team midfield men to pick from.

The City boss opted to start all five against Bayern before sacrificing James Milner just after the hour mark in order to bring on striker Stevan Jovetic.

Pellegrini may not feel the need to pack the midfield against Ronald Koeman's side, meaning as many as three of the five who started on Tuesday could find themselves left out.

Despite rolling back the years with a fine performance in the centre of the park, Frank Lampard can expect to return to the bench with Toure likely to take his place, while only one of Jesus Navas and Milner can start on the right.

Fernandinho's availability could also put pressure on Fernando, although don't expect Pellegrini to make too many changes.

Can Aguero do it again?

One man who is nailed on to keep his place is the in-form Aguero who took his tally for the season to 17 on Tuesday.

The Argentine has been a rare bright spark for City and you wouldn't bet against him adding to his 12 Premier League strikes on Sunday, despite Koeman's side boasting the meanest defence in the league.

Aguero's mission to breach a formidable back-line would be supported by Jovetic should Pellegrini opt for a front two as Edin Dzeko's calf strain continues to keep him out.

Joining the Bosnian on the sidelines are Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva who are yet to recover from hamstring and knee complaints respectively.

Defence

In contrast to their weekend opponents, City have struggled to keep clean sheets this season and have conceded 13 league goals compared to Southampton's six.

That could be in part due to a lack of stability, with Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis taking it in turns to partner Vincent Kompany.

It was City's French summer signing who got the nod against Bayern and despite the team conceding two goals, Mangala done little wrong.

The right-back berth is also uncertain with Bacary Sagna battling it out with Pablo Zabaleta for a starting place.

With two of Saints' summer arrivals, Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic, having made an instant impact on the Premier League, whatever back four Pellegrini plumps for will have their work cut out at St Mary's.

Predicted line-up

Hart; Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy; Navas, Fernando, Toure, Nasri; Aguero, Jovetic

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Topics:
Southampton
Manchester City
Premier League
Football

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