Raheem Sterling strikes as Man City return to winning ways at Southampton

Manchester City returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Southampton.

Raheem Sterling turned home a Kevin De Bruyne cross to give City an early lead and they were able to hold on to secure all three points after back-to-back Premier League draws.

Southampton went into the game third in the table having suffered just one defeat in their previous 11 games, but City did enough to secure the three points, although they were unable to add to their early advantage.

Pep Guardiola’s side looked resolute at the back throughout, although they have yet to hit their stride going forward and have amassed just 19 goals from their first 13 Premier League games this season.

Southampton started brightly and looked to stop Manchester City settling or controlling the ball, confidently chasing down goalkeeper Ederson and forcing some rushed kicks into touch.

When the chance came however City were clinical as Sterling turned a well-struck low De Bruyne cross into the back of the net in the 16th minute.

Southampton looked to hit back before half-time with Theo Walcott, who had earned his manager’s praise following his midweek display against former club Arsenal, making a number of threatening runs towards the City goal.

Ralph Hasenhuttl had said before the game that he would be open to making Walcott’s season-long loan from Everton permanent and the 31-year-old looked to repay his manager’s faith in him, causing problems for City down the right-hand side all afternoon.

De Bruyne starred for Manchester City
De Bruyne starred for Manchester City

Southampton were unable to create clear-cut chances, despite continuing to dominate possession in the latter stages of the first half.

Their task was made more difficult after Danny Ings, who has seven goals to his name this season, was forced off just before the break.

Manchester City came out strongly at the start of the second half and almost doubled their lead when Ferran Torres ran down the right before firing a shot across goal and just wide of the target.

Back to winning ways for @ManCity ✨#SOUMCIpic.twitter.com/22nx1wJZKg

— Premier League (@premierleague) December 19, 2020

Torres had another opportunity after De Bruyne expertly created space down the left before feeding it across to the Spaniard, who managed to turn in the box but lost control and the ball trickled into Alex McCarthy’s grasp.

Southampton were unable to carry their momentum from the end of the first half into the second, despite occupying space on the edge of the City box.

De Bruyne had a chance in the 70th minute to wrap up all three points for City after being played through by Bernardo Silva, but his final effort lacked power and McCarthy was able to gather, with Ilkay Gundogan also having an effort saved.