Publish date:

Kyle Walker Returns to Starting Line-Up, Raheem Sterling to Start in Striker Role - Predicted Team: Man City vs Southampton (Premier League)

Manchester City are up against Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon and here’s how we expect Pep Guardiola’s team to line up against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side.

The defending Premier League champions have picked up nine points from four top-flight fixtures so far and will be eager to extend their four-match winning streak when they welcome 14th placed Southampton on matchday five.

City are currently fifth in the table and have looked mighty dangerous since their disappointing opening day defeat against Tottenham. Pep Guardiola will demand a victory on Saturday to maintain winning momentum ahead of a difficult string of fixtures later this month.

Southampton started their season with a painful loss against Everton but produced a strong result as they held Manchester United to a draw. The Saints are struggling as they learn to live without Danny Ings and Jannik Vestergaard - two key players who left during the summer window.

Manchester City did the double over Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side last campaign, with the home fixture ending in a 5-2 victory for Guardiola’s men. Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez both scored twice that day, while Ilkay Gundogan was also on target.

Ahead of matchday five this weekend, here is how we expect Manchester City to line-up against the Saints.

READ MORE: Jack Grealish makes bold statement about Champions League goal

READ MORE: Pep Guardiola provides injury latest on Laporte and Stones

Ederson starts in goal without a doubt. The Brazilian suffered at the hands of some poor defending last time out and conceded three goals by no fault of his own. Having not kept a clean sheet in the Champions League, the City shot-stopper will be eager to get one this time around.

In defence, Kyle Walker - who was rested in the midweek - is expected to take over at his usual right-back spot. Ruben Dias will unquestionably be at the heart of Manchester City’s defence, but uncertainty remains around the centre back situation.

Pep Guardiola confirmed the unavailability of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte due to muscle injuries picked up during the international break, speaking during his pre-match press conference. Nathan Ake, who sadly lost his father on Wednesday night, is likely to partner Dias for Saturday’s game.

Oleksandr Zinchenko started a game for the first time this season against RB Leipzig in midweek and we expect the Ukrainian international to continue on the left, providing some much-needed rest for Joao Cancelo, who has played every minute of the season so far.

Bernardo Silva will start ahead of Kevin De Bruyne, who returned to action against Leipzig and was sharp from the go, but with only two days to recover and having just come back into the side, is likely to be rested.

READ MORE: Juventus and Bayern Munich in 'battle' for Man City forward

READ MORE: Phil Foden set for Man City position change

Rodrigo will take up his usual position in defensive midfield after coming off at the hour mark in the midweek fixture. Ilkay Gundogan came off the bench for a 30-minute cameo on Wednesday night and should be fresh enough to return against the Saints.

We expect Gabriel Jesus to return to his newfound position at right wing. The Brazilian came off the bench to score against Leipzig earlier this week and has had an electric start to the season so far.

Raheem Sterling will start through the middle and will be eager to get on the score sheet to claw his way back into Pep Guardiola’s starting eleven. The Englishman had a difficult 2020/21 season, compared to his high standards, and will look to get back to his goalscoring best against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side.

Manchester City’s brand-new star boy Jack Grealish will surely retain his position thanks to his burning hot form. The Englishman had a dream Champions League debut on Wednesday night picking up an assist and a gorgeous goal in front of the home crowd, and he will surely be ready to go again.

Substitutes: Scott Carson, Joao Cancelo, Luke Mbete, Fernandinho, Romeo Lavia, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres.

You can follow the author on Twitter here: @sangamdesaii

You can follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra