Saints on the up
After a poor finish to last season and a difficult start to the current one, it didn't look great for Southampton.
Indeed, in a table showing how many points each team accrued in the calendar year of 2021, Southampton were bottom of the pile for sides who played both seasons in the top division. From their 39 games, they managed just 34 points.
But a glance at the standings ahead of this weekend's action shows Southampton tucked safely in 12th place, 10 points clear of the drop zone.
Since Christmas Day, Saints have won 3-2 at West Ham and 4-1 at home to Brentford while also holding Spurs to a draw at St Mary's.
That run of seven points from nine was a welcome boost although the mini-run was ended via a 3-1 loss at Wolves last time.
Despite a few decent wins, their standout result this term was managing a 0-0 draw at Manchester City in September. Given City's current run that looks a more and more surprising result by the day!
City marching to title
Manchester City are just 1.292/7 to win this game.
But if you think that's short, check out the title betting. City are just 1.091/11 to win a fourth Premier League in the last five years after their lead at the top reached double digits.
Pep Guardiola's side are 11 points clear of Liverpool ahead of this one although the Reds have a game in hand. City have 16 matches still to play, including a home clash against Jurgen Klopp's men.
If Liverpool won that April showdown as well as their extra game, the gap is theoretically five points. Optimistic Reds fans may therefore think 14.013/1 is a bit of value.
City have dropped points in just four of their 18 top-flight matches this season while they travel to the south coast on a ridiculously good run of 12 straight Premier League victories.
Notably, their home and away records are identical: played 11, won nine, drawn one, lost one. In that sense, City offer more value in road games when their price is slightly bigger.
Their next two Premier League fixtures are home to Brentford and away to Norwich so a victory here would leave them in great position to go on and extend their sequence of PL wins to 15 before a tougher task when they host Tottenham.
Anyone who took very short odds on City winning the first Premier League meeting will surely be put off going in again at 1.292/7.
Another Draw is 6.86/1 while Southampton to pull off a shock win is 12.011/1.
Looking at past head-to-heads, Man City have won eight of the last 10 although there are a couple of stats that raise red flags.
First, City have failed to score in two of their last four games against Saints while Southampton are unbeaten in their last seven at home. That's their best run at St Mary's in over five years.
Southampton certainly deserve respect but so does the fact that City have won their last 12 Premier League games by an aggregate of 34-7 since the surprise 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace.
Pro City backers will need to go to -2 on the handicaps to get an odds-against price. That's 3.052/1. City -1 is 1.814/5.
Both teams to Score is virtually a pick 'em and it's tempting to back 'Yes' at 1.9520/21. Southampton are scoring goals but haven't kept a clean sheet in 10 matches. The counter argument is City having the tightest defence in the Premier League.
My best guess of the scoreline would be City winning by one or two goals but both are still odds-on on the handicaps so I'll swerve that method of attack.
Instead, there look to be better options in the scorer markets.
After a bit of a stop-start run, Kevin De Bruyne appears to be in full flow now and scored a superb winner in the 1-0 victory over Chelsea last weekend.
All roads appear to point to KDB in this fixture. He's scored an impressive nine goals in his last 14 Premier League starts while he's laid on an assist in all three matches he's started at St Mary's.
The common view is that De Bruyne assists more than he scores and that's correct over his career. However, it's flipped this season. He's netted seven times but assisted just three (the same as Ruben Dias for example).
The prices don't reflect that, with an anytime goal 2.8815/8 on the Sportsbook and an assist 2.111/10. I'll obviously play the former.
Joao Cancelo, meanwhile, has eight assists to De Bruyne's three and yet the Spaniard is 3.55/2 to lay on another goal.
He's bound to be in advanced positions for most of the contest so I'll also back him to rack up yet another assist.
If you want to combine both on the Bet Builder, that pays just over 8.07/1.
As well as having the tightest defence in the Premier League this season with just 13 goals conceded, Manchester City have also shipped the lowest ratio of their goals before half-time this term - just two of their 13 goals conceded have come before half-time (15%).