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Manchester City win to close gap on Chelsea

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Manchester City moved to within six points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with an impressive 3-0 win at Southampton.

The Saints started the game in second place and boasted the meanest defence in the league but City battled to a deserved win to leapfrog the south coast side and close the gap on the leaders.

Three consecutive wins

The visitors had been buoyed by their 3-2 victory over Bayern Munich on Tuesday night and made it three wins in a row in all competitions.

Goals from Yaya Toure, Frank Lampard and Gael Clichy sealed the win for City, who ended the game with nine men following Eliaquim Mangala's sending off and Vincent Kompany limping off injured after Pellegrini had made all three substitutions.

The game saw it's first major incident as early as the tenth minute when Sergio Aguero went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Jose Fonte.

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Referee Mike Jones blew his whistle, but only to book Aguero for a perceived dive although replays showed the Argentine had clearly been fouled.

The decision left both player and manager furious, but City didn't let it get to them and dominated the opening stages.

They created their first clear cut chance on the half hour mark when Samir Nasri found Stevan Jovetc in the box, the striker's shot beat Fraser Forster but not Toby Alderweireld who got back in time to clear off his line.

Saints had a chance of their own when Morgan Schneiderlin floated a tempting ball into the box but Joe Hart's presence was enough to put off Graziano Pelle.

Breakthrough

The deadlock was finally broken early in the second half when Toure struck a low shot in to the corner of Forster's goal after Aguero had set the ball back to him on the edge of the box.

Toure's strike sparked the hosts in to life and they saw the majority of possession without troubling Joe Hart, and Ronald Koeman opted to introduce Shane Long in place of the quiet Saido Mane with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Long didn't take long to make an impact, and when he dispossessed Toure deep in the visitors half, Mangala had a decision to make.

Despite having Kompany in support, the French defender brought down Long and having already been booked in the first half he was given his marching orders.

Counter

Southampton's search for an equaliser provided the vistors with a chance to play counter attacking football and they did so with purpose.

Substitute James Milner pinched the ball off Steven Davis and surged forward before finding Frank Lampard in acres of space on the edge of the box.

In that position there was only going to be one outcome and the former Chelsea hero struck with a trademark effort to seal the points with ten minutes on the clock.

Southampton continued to pile on the pressure but found themselves three down after a rapid break allowed Aguero, making his 100th Premier League appearance, to find the marauding Gael Clichy who finished at the back post.

With the points in the bag City suffered a later injury scare when Vincent Kompany limped off with a hamstring problem, leaving the away side to play out stoppage time with just nine men with Pellegrini having already made his three permitted substitutions.

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Topics:
Southampton
Manchester City
Premier League
Football

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