Saints hold champions at the Etihad

By SFC Media time Sat 18 Sep Man City vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Adam Armstrong
Sat 18 Sep 3PM
Premier League
Manchester City
yellow card
Walker-Peters (52') Livramento (84')
Referee: Jonathan Moss | Venue: Etihad Stadium | Attendance: 52,698

An excellent away performance saw Southampton claim a point and a hard-fought clean sheet at the Etihad Stadium, although a major decision denied the visitors a real chance of victory.

Saints defended diligently, restricted their usually free-scoring hosts and carried a counter-attacking threat of their own, which led to the award of a penalty just after the hour mark when Adam Armstrong was brought down by Kyle Walker.

Referee Jon Moss initially pointed to the spot and dismissed the defender, only to consult his pitch-side monitor and overturn the decision.

Thankfully VAR did come to Saints’ aid after Raheem Sterling pounced at the death, but this time the technology agreed with the on-field decision, and the England man was rightly ruled offside.

Ralph Hasenhüttl is much happier with the depth in his squad this season and spoke in the week about selection dilemmas, vowing to pick “different qualities” depending on the opposition.

For this game against the champions that meant recalls for Jan Bednarek, Kyle Walker-Peters and Ché Adams, as Mohammed Salisu, Romain Perraud and Moussa Djenepo dropped to the bench.

With two natural strikers restored to the Saints attack, the visitors started the game on the front foot, clearly not overawed by the size of the task despite City having scored 16 goals in their three previous home games.

For all the early possession and pressure, chances were in short supply, though James Ward-Prowse sent Ederson scurrying across his line from a cross-come-shot that had the Brazilian worried, albeit the whistle went for an alleged foul in front of him.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Ederson of Manchester City pushes the ball onto the post during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Man City goalkeeper Ederson keeps out James Ward-Prowse's teasing free-kick

City would have to wait until the 21st minute to have a clear sight of goal, as Walker’s cross was headed over by Ilkay Gundogan, who could not control the power on the delivery.

Then Jack Grealish sucked in three defenders and threaded a pass through for Sterling, whose attempted curler from the left flew past the far post.

Suddenly City were beginning to purr, having been second best for the first quarter. Gabriel Jesus traded passes with Sterling and fizzed a low ball across the box that was just beyond the sliding Bernardo Silva.

It would take a brave block from Bednarek to keep out Jesus, whose half-volley looked goal-bound, but the hosts were being restricted to speculative efforts.

Saints’ most uncomfortable moment of the first half was an injury to Jack Stephens 10 minutes before the interval, prompting Salisu’s introduction and an unwelcome defensive reshuffle.

By now Saints were playing more on the counter-attack, with City starting to dominate possession, but one forward raid from Tino Livramento might have resulted in an opportunity for Armstrong had the front man taken a better first touch.

Strike partner Adams did make the ball stick moments later, before feeding Mohamed Elyounoussi to his left, who had a half-chance to curl one inside the far post when he stepped inside, but he could not get hold of the shot.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Adam Armstrong(L) of Southampton is brought down by Kyle Walker of Manchester City but VAR rules no penalty during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Kyle Walker stepped across Adam Armstrong, preventing the striker from shooting

Saints began the second half much as they’d started the first, forcing City back. When Oriol Romeu pinched possession inside home territory, Adams was free to drive at the defence and let fly from the edge of the box with a low shot that he dragged a couple of yards wide.

It was from a similar ball win high up the field that Saints were on the receiving end of a major talking point.

As Armstrong went through on goal from Nathan Redmond’s pass, Walker stepped across him and did not play the ball, prompting Moss to award a penalty and send off the England defender.

But from finding themselves in a potentially commanding position, instead Saints were stopped in their tracks by VAR, as Moss consulted the pitch-side monitor and overturned his own decision.

Not only were Saints still at 0-0 against 11 men, but now Kevin De Bruyne was summoned from the bench as the game threatened to turn in the opposite direction with 25 minutes to go.

Still City could not find their rhythm, and it was Saints playing the intricate football around the box that led to another chance for Armstrong, but his shot was tame and easily saved.

It would have been so cruel on Saints to lose it, but VAR confirmed that Sterling was offside when he tapped in the rebound after Alex McCarthy kept out Phil Foden’s 90th-minute header.

Manchester City

Head to Head Stats

  • Possession (%)
    comparison angle
  • Shots
    comparison angle
  • Shots on target
    comparison angle
  • Corners
    comparison angle
  • Passes Complete
    comparison angle

Manchester City

Ederson (GK)
Nathan Aké
João Cancelo
Rúben Dias
Kyle Walker
Fernandinho (C)
replace Kevin De Bruyne (65′)
Bernardo Silva
replace Phil Foden (72′)
Ilkay Gündogan
Gabriel Jesus
replace Riyad Mahrez (67′)
Jack Grealish
Raheem Sterling
Ferran Torres
Kevin De Bruyne
Phil Foden
Luke Mbete
Riyad Mahrez
Cole Palmer
Joshua Wilson-Esbrand
Scott Carson
Romeo Lavia


Alex McCarthy (GK)
Jack Stephens
replace Mohammed Salisu (37′)
Jan Bednarek
Valentino Livramento yellow card
replace Romain Perraud (86′)
Kyle Walker-Peters yellow card
James Ward-Prowse (C)
Nathan Redmond
Oriol Romeu
Mohamed Elyounoussi
Che Adams
replace Armando Broja (68′)
Adam Armstrong
Fraser Forster
Moussa Djenepo
Mohammed Salisu
Armando Broja
Yan Valery
Romain Perraud
Ibrahima Diallo
Nathan Tella
Hasenhüttl on solid Saints
Man City vs Saints

Hasenhüttl on solid Saints

Manager confident that team shape and defensive stability are both key to winning games.

timeFri 24 Sep
Video: Ward-Prowse on determined point Ward-Prowse on mature performance Video: Introducing RoweEdition ahead of ePL Grand Finals video02:50
ePremier League

Video: Introducing RoweEdition ahead of ePL Grand Finals

Saints' newest ePL player Tyreece Rowe looks towards Grand Finals debut

Ten teams join Saints' Future of Football Challenge Kamari Doyle earns first England U18s call-up