Connect in the back of the net

Manchester City eased past Southampton thanks to goals from Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane and Kun Aguero.

It was City’s 11th away win of the season, and crucial in their bid for Champions League football.

Here are five things we learnt from the match:

 

Valiant Vincent

Arms pumping, a canon of screams emitted from his vocal cords and sheer passion written all over his face, Kompany’s header gave the Citizens the lead.

After his long, treacherous road to recovery – one fraught with much set back – this is exactly what the Belgian needed.

It was a commanding display at the heart of City’s defence. He brought security, confidence and class.

He needs to remain fit and prove he deserves a future under Pep Guardiola.

If the City captain can ensure his fitness and play out the remainder of the season, City will certainly get Champions League football: he is that important.

 

Ponderous to Punch

The opening 45 minutes saw City dominate, but do little with their possession.

Pep’s men were ponderous in possession, with Yaya Toure a culprit of such pedestrian pace.

However, the turn of the half brought with it a City attack renewed with vigour and punch.

Sane’s counter-attacking goal, for the second, crystallised this transformation from aimless passing to a directness and edge that the Saints could not handle.

 

Saints’ dismal top-six record

There is little doubting that Claude Puel’s has crafted a very good, well-drilled and aesthetically pleasing side.

Never in real danger of relegation, the Saints have had a comfortable season, reaching the heights of Wembley – only to fall cruelly to a Zlatan Ibrahimović master-class.

Yet, if their looking for progression, there is one clear area where improvement is needed.

Puel’s side have failed to record a victory against the top-six this season.

Such wins would propel them into the sub-tier of the Premier League elite: not quite Champions League, but vying with the likes of Everton, West Brom – and now Arsenal – for some form of European football.

 

Diligent Davies

Perhaps the most under-rated central midfielder in the Premier League, Davies is central to Southampton’s play.

His work goes unnoticed to the uneducated eye, his determination and willingness to track-back a feature that fails to make the highlight reels, but the crafty midfielder is a gem.

Not only is he competent in challenging, he is also assured and composed in his forward play.

Davies’ asserts his presence on the pitch in deft moments – moments that are seldom recognised, but influential nonetheless – and should be in the footballing consciousness much more than he already is.

 

Bravo…

It’s boring now, Pep.

Claudio Bravo was often left seconds away from a slip-up; dawdling in possession and trying too hard to find an Iniesta-like pass.

Retain the ball for a second longer, and the result might be a completely different.

He didn’t concede today, so that’s something, but he did not face any shot capable of troubling a keeper.

Guardiola will most likely keep Bravo on his books, but he needs to find a genuinely reliable number one keeper if he is to mount a bid on the Premier League next season.

 

Written by Michael Jones

Follow Michael on Twitter @jonesmichael_97

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