Southampton were shown just how competitive the Premier League is by a clinical Manchester City side who ended up 3-0 winners at St. Mary's.
Manuel Pellegrini's side were ahead after Yaya Toure's effort flew past Fraser Forster before they had Eliaquim Mangala sent off for a second bookable offence.
That didn't slow them down however, and they added goals from Frank Lampard and Gael Clichy as the home side pushed forward in the closing stages.
In an even first half it was the Saints who created the best opening after Ryan Bertrand's cross found Graziano Pelle who could not poke past Joe Hart from six yards and the rebounds from Steven Davis and Dusan Tadic were cleared.
City were also denied a stonewall penalty after Jose Fonte swiped Sergio Aguero's legs but the Argentine harshly received a yellow card for simulation from referee Mike Jones.
Stevan Jovetic had an effort which squirmed under Fraser Forster from close-range but Toby Alderweireld did well to clear off the line to keep the scores level at the break.
Southampton were forced into a reshuffle at the break with Morgan Schneiderlin replaced by Maya Yoshida and Toby Alderweireld moving forward into the Frenchman's midfield position. The Belgian star fizzed a shot just past the post to banish any signs of discomfort in his new position as the half began.
Dusan Tadic also struck a low shot wide of Joe Hart's goal before the visitors took the lead. Sergio Aguero darted inside before laying the ball off to Yaya Toure who struck a sweet low effort which flew past Fraser Forster.
Ronald Koeman reacted by introducing Shane Long and the change brought the Saints an instant reward. The Irish striker raced onto a through ball before being shoved by Eliaquim Mangala who was shown his second yellow for the offence, leaving City with ten men for the remaining 15 minutes.
Clinical finishing the difference
The numerical difference gave the home side hope and they kept pushing for an equaliser, only for City to hit them on the break. James Milner robbed Steven Davis in midfield before laying to Frank Lampard who cooly stroked home from the edge of the box with ten minutes to go.
Fraser Forster made a superb save from the feet of Sergio Aguero before Graziano Pelle missed Shane Long's cross by inches as Ronald Koeman's side kept trying to find a way back into the game.
However, City broke again with three minutes left and after Aguero laid a ball across the six-yard box it was Gael Clichy who was on-hand to slam the ball into the top corner to round off a convincing victory.
The victory saw City leapfrog Southampton into second place in the Premier League ahead of a midweek fixture list in the Premier League.
Southampton player ratings
Forster - 6
Clyne - 6
Fonte - 6
Alderweireld - 7
Bertrand - 6
Wanyama - 7
Schneiderlin - 7
Davis - 6
Tadic - 5
Mane - 6
Pelle - 6
Yoshida - 6
Long - 6
Mayuka - NA
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