Another goal for Agüero but City continue to stutter on the road
By Jack Mumford
It was a story of missed chances, disjointed defending and a Hollywood goal in City’s 1-1 draw at the St Mary’s Stadium this afternoon. Another early Sergio Agüero goal set the ball rolling but after a special goal from Saints striker Dani Osvaldo, the Blues were forced to hang on to the point.
After City’s victory at West Brom on Wednesday night, they appeared to be back on the right track away from the Etihad Stadium but this display will have fans of Manuel Pellegrini’s men worried again.
Southampton started the season as standard bearers for hard working, pressing defending with neat, intricate football to match. They have, however, faltered recently having lost their last three Premier League matches. In fairness, this included trips to Arsenal and Chelsea.
Costel Pantilimon and the City defence remained the same as in the victory over West Brom despite the late lapses of concentration that almost let the Baggies back into the game. In fact, the only two changes for City was the rarely used James Milner taking the place of Jesús Navas and Álvaro Negredo returning after his midweek rest.
City could have scored three with in the first 15 minutes of the game. A poor touch from Negredo who was through on goal and an Aleksandar Kolarov header that flashed past the goal took account of two of them chances.
The one chance to be converted was a drilled Kolarov cross which found the perfectly positioned Agüero who wrapped his left foot around the ball to score and continue his scintillating form. The Argentinian now has 12 Premier League goals this season.
The next major chance fell to who City would have wanted it to, Agüero. In a move very similar to his opening goal at West Brom on Wednesday, the talismanic striker this time fired the ball high and not very handsome.
This missed chance seemed to kick Southampton into action who dominated until the half time whistle. Some last ditch defending from full backs Pablo Zabaleta and Kolarov to deny Adam Lallana and James Ward-Prowse maintained City’s lead for a while.
The Blues couldn’t hang on until half time though as Johnny Depp lookalike Osvaldo pulled the ball down out of the air, twisted Vincent Kompany inside out and curled an unstoppable shot into the top right corner that even the 6’ 8” Pantilimon couldn’t have dreamt of reaching. It was exactly what Southampton deserved.
The second half began at the same frantic pace the first half was played in. Agüero forced Paulo Gazzaniga into a low strong save and Yaya Touré curled the ball just wide of the goal all before the 50 minute mark.
The best chance of the half however fell to Southampton’s scorer Osvaldo. Jay Rodriguez passed Kompany and Demichelis by running in a straight line only to be denied by Pantilimon who stopped Rodriguez but couldn’t hold the ball and Osvaldo ran onto the loose ball and had most of the goal to pick from but he blazed his chance a long way over the bar.
Pellegrini used all his substitutes as Navas, Javi Garcia and Edin Džeko took the places of Milner, Negredo and Touré respectively but the game had already peaked.
After 70 minutes of ferocious action, the last 20 minutes seemed to pass without any major event and City come away from another Premier League ground without the victory.
City have a trip to Bayern Munich, who put seven past Bremen today, on Tuesday before the must win clash against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium next Saturday.
45% Possession 55%
12 (3) Shots (on target) 15 (4)
4 Corners 5
9 Fouls 6