Southampton suffered heartbreak in the dying minutes against Manchester City as Raheem Sterling scored the winner for the league leaders with one of the last kicks of the game.
Saints put in a resolute defensive display at the home of the league leaders, limiting them to shots from outside the penalty area and half chances.
Despite only registering 25% possession against City, Saints did create chances of their own with Wesley Hoedt having his header crash against the bar and Maya Yoshida firing over from six-yards after a flick on at a corner.
Manchester City did eventually take the lead just after half time when a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick beat Fraser Forster at his near post.
In an attempt to get back into the game, Mauricio Pellegrino brought on the in-form Sofiane Boufal for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and the Moroccan had an instant impact when he was positive and composed to pick up an over-hit cross from Ryan Bertrand, as he found Oriol Romeu, who thumped Saints level with a first time finish in the 75th minute.
However, it wasn’t meant to be when Raheem Sterling produced a moment of magic just seconds after the allocated amount of added time was due to end, extending Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier League to eight points.
Following the valiant performance from the Saints team, I have chosen three players who really stood out and played for their worth.
Fraser Forster had arguably one of his best performances since the departure of Ronald Koeman at Manchester City. The England international made some crucial saves to keep his side in the game, with the best of the lot coming from a one on one with Gabriel Jesus. Despite perhaps failing to cover his near post for the first goal, Forster was dominant and commanding and was there when called on.
Mario Lemina made his first start since returning from injury and reminded everyone of the quality that he possesses both on the ball and off the ball. Lemina was positionally perfect for the entirety of the game, he was strong winning possession back on multiple occasions and his distribution and forward thinking was as good as it gets.
As well as this, we also saw a flair side of Lemina’s game with a few fancy skills as he also showed his ability to beat a man.
Virgil van Dijk
The game against Manchester City was undeniably Van Dijk’s best performance in a Saints shirt since returning from injury. Despite initially being awarded an own goal, it was deemed that his touch wasn’t enough to change the flight of the ball from Kevin De Bruyne’s delivery.
Van Dijk was strong, positionally disciplined for the majority of the game, stepped out of defence and reclaimed possession perfectly. It was like watching the Van Dijk of old and that is a very positive factor for the club and the team moving forward.
Despite those three being the key, standout Saints from the defeat to Manchester City, I would also like to give special mentions to Sofiane Boufal and Wesley Hoedt, who were both also exceptional at their set tactical tasks.