Five Things We Learned: Manchester City 0-0 Southampton (Premier League)

Manchester City played out a goalless draw against a resilient Southampton side at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Author:
Publish date:

It was a frustrating day at the office for Pep Guardiola's side, who failed to replicate their recent goalscoring exploits at home against the Saints, who are yet to taste victory in the league this season.

The hosts were far from their best, as too many crucial players didn't turn up, and though the likes of Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva provided some moments of inspiration, the Premier League champions lacked the cutting edge in front of goal.

Here are five things City Xtra learnt from City's 0-0 draw against Southampton-


READ MORE: Kayky's first words as a Man City player upon arrival in Manchester

READ MORE: Pep Guardiola opens up on striker excuse amid Man City struggles


1. Sterling not the man up top

After being named in the starting XI for the first time in five games, Raheem Sterling failed to impress with little fault of his own, as he was stuck down the middle with Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus on either side.

The England international has all sorts of question marks surrounding his future at the Etihad Stadium, and after struggling against Tottenham in August, City have since flourished in attack without the former Liverpool man, who has been offered a new contract.

However, while it remains to be seen how Pep and his coaching staff try and get the 26-year-old back firing, it is becoming more and more clear that playing Sterling up top is not a long-term solution to City's striking problems.


2. Fernandinho had a bad day at the office

It was one of those rare days when everything seemed to go wrong midfield veteran Fernandinho, who has arguably been one of Pep's most reliable troops since his arrival to the club in 2016.

The Brazilian was sloppy in possession, slow in reacting to the switch of play, and while he remains a pivotal figure in the dressing room, the 36-year-old's minutes will need to be very carefully managed with a series of crunch games coming up.

With Rodri playing in mid-week against RB Leipzig, one would have expected Fernandinho to have slotted in with ease against the Saints, but the defensive midfielder was found out at various moments during the game, as it turned out to be one of his worst-ever displays in a City shirt.


READ MORE: Pep Guardiola provides concerning injury update

READ MORE: Phil Foden provides dressing room insight on refereeing decisions


3. Grealish standing out of the pack

On a day where many City stars were poor, Jack Grealish was perhaps the only one who was close to influencing proceedings for his side, as he caused havoc in the Saints backline throughout the clash.

The ex-Aston Villa skipper has made a fast start to his City career, and following a debut goal in the Champions League on Wednesday, he put on a bright display which should put him in the running to keep his place against the likes of Chelsea and PSG.

With two goals and two assists so far for City, the England man has been one of the Manchester club's best players since the start of the campaign, and Guardiola will be delighted with how well Grealish has settled to life at City.


4. City still struggle without De Bruyne

Despite the wealth of attacking talent in their ranks, City still often look desperately short of inspiration without their Kevin De Bruyne.

As soon as the Belgian was introduced to try and slice open the Saints defence, City looked far more likely to snatch a late winner, and they did have the ball in the back of the net via Raheem Sterling, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside.

With the 30-year-old still gaining match fitness, Guardiola will be keen to have his talisman back if City are to climb up the league table and lay down an early marker in the Champions League.


5. Tricky spell coming up for City

With important ties against Chelsea, PSG and Liverpool looming, City will have to fix their issues in attack and midfield in have any sort of joy over the upcoming run of games.

With Phil Foden also close to returning to action, Guardiola has all the tools at his disposal to try and get his side on a winning streak after a rather stop-start beginning to the new season.

Guardiola and his side have one key that still makes them favourites for the title - experience. They have dealt with and thrived off a demanding schedule, and it could only be a matter of time before his side start well and truly clicking.


Follow us on Twitter for live updates: @City_Xtra