A magnificent goal from Che Adams was the difference for Southampton at St Mary's as Manchester City failed to build on the win over Liverpool and fell back to 23 points behind the champions.
Pep Guardiola said before the match that he knew his team were in for a fight and within 16 minutes that couldn't have been more apparent. The zero fans in attendance were treated to one of the goals of the season as Stuart Armstrong dispossessed Oleksandr Zinchenko, prompting Adams to catch Ederson off his line with an astounding first-time finish from 40 yards - not bad for your first Premier League goal.
⚽️ Che Adams— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) July 5, 2020
25th PL appearance
22nd shot, 4th shot on target
1st PL goal
Man City have conceded 9 PL goals from outside the box this season - more than any other side pic.twitter.com/n7hxkkzV21
In a fiery response not befitting the game's dead-rubber status, Fernandinho rattled the post of Alex McCarthy, before the keeper brilliantly denied David Silva on the follow-up, as City gradually upped the ante.
McCarthy was called into action with further great stops to deny Jesus and Silva as the second half kicked off, and it was mostly one way traffic - though there was one or two nervy moments for the visitors, as Ederson redeemed himself with some quick-thinking on two occasions.
The introductions of Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden might have changed another game but the Saints weren't to be denied in this one. Red and white shirts were in the way of everything a sub-par, tired-looking City threw at them, and picked up an excellent victory for their efforts.
Key Talking Point
To say Southampton have been magnificent since returning from lockdown would be overstating it. 'Efficient' would be a better way of describing a side whose high pressing game brushed aside Norwich and Watford, but came up some way short against Arsenal.
'Magnificent' just about does the job for how well the Saints contained City here, however. In practice, neither side had much to play for, with Saints as far removed from the drop zone as they are from European qualification, but they played like a side with plenty to prove and pressed City into oblivion.
Can we just take the time to say that Southampton are the most underated team in the pl— ????????????* (PL CHAMPIONS?) (@6timeUCLWinners) July 5, 2020
Stuart Armstrong inspired a tireless midfield display, while at the back they stood remarkably strong under prolonged spells of pressure. Alex McCarthy was a rock but equally impressive were the defensive pairing of Jack Stephens and Jan Bednarek, who threw themselves in front of everything to the delight of their manager.
This is a very handy Southampton side who looked dead and buried in October, and while mid-table may be as good as it gets for now, the long-term future under Ralph Hasenhuttl looks bright.
Starting XI: McCarthy (9); Walker-Peters (7), Stephens (7), Bednarek (8), Bertrand (6); Armstrong (8), Ward-Prowse (7), Romeu (7), Redmond (6); Ings (8), Adams (8)
Subs: Long (6), Smallbone (N/A)
It was an excellent performance from Southampton all things considered, but while their pressing from the front grabbed the headlines, it was the man at the base of the operations who was more integral than any other.
Alex McCarthy has made more saves than Microsoft Word.— Sam Matterface (@sammatterface) July 5, 2020
Do we reckon they we still lose all their best work though?#SaintsFC
The one-time England cap underlined his status as one of the most underrated keepers in the country with a string of wonderful stops, and as much as Angus Gunn might dispute it, there can be no question over who the gloves belong to now.
Key Talking Point
City made the statement they wanted to against Liverpool at the Etihad on Thursday, and at times here they were given the game they might have expected - but didn't get - from the champions.
They were shaken and unsettled by an intense Southampton team, who for long spells laid bare just why City will finish the season so far behind the runaway Reds. They desperately missed Kevin De Bruyne, who made way in one of six personnel changes, but was called upon from the bench before the hour mark.
Pep Guardiola had never lost three straight league games away in his managerial career prior to this one but when even the inhuman De Bruyne looked off the pace upon his introduction, it became apparent that it was not going to be their day.
It was one of the more insignificant defeats City will suffer given that the league is long since out of their reach, but it's one that will come as concerning after a victory over Liverpool that was supposed to have set the bar for a stellar finish to the campaign.
Soton much better than when they pushed City at Etihad. Fernandinho unusually sloppy but hasn’t played there for ages. Zinchenko more sloppy. Cancelo/Bernardo up & down. Silva battling. Forwards not really involved but can see them taking a chance (well, more so Sterling/Mahrez)— Sam Lee (@SamLee) July 5, 2020
Starting XI: Ederson (5); Cancelo (7), Garcia (6), Laporte (6), Zinchenko (5); Bernardo (6), Fernandinho (6), Silva (6); Mahrez (6), Jesus (6), Sterling (5)
Subs: De Bruyne (6), Foden (6)
It was a day bereft of satisfactory City performances, but Cancelo was a rare bright spark as he stepped in for Kyle Walker.
Joao Cancelo vs Southampton HT— ONOME (@onomeosika) July 5, 2020
Ground duels (won): 10 (7)
Aerial duels (won): 2 (1)
Acc. passes: 34/39 (87%)
Key passes: 2
Long balls (acc.): 5 (4)
Chances created: 2
Dribbles (succ.): 2 (2)
NO HELP #SOUMCI pic.twitter.com/yKvk7gLvLv
Energetic going forward while impressive against Nathan Redmond, he looked unfazed in the face of the Southampton press - which cannot be said for many of his teammates.
Manchester City host Newcastle on Wednesday, 24 hours before Southampton head north to face Everton.
Source : 90min