Premier League powerhouse Manchester City will enter St. Mary's Stadium for its showdown with Southampton on Saturday in desperate need of three points to keep pace with league-leading Manchester United.
Meanwhile, the Saints are looking to avoid relegation. In 16th place in the league table, Southampton is just three points ahead of Wigan and Aston Villa, who, if the season ended right now, would be relegated to a lower league.
Clearly, there's plenty at stake for each side on Saturday.
With kickoff on the horizon, here we'll get you set with everything you need to know for this weekend's EPL clash.
Where: St. Mary's Stadium, England
When: Saturday, Feb. 9 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Watch: FOX Soccer
Live Streaming: FOXSoccer2Go
Southampton Player to Watch: Rickie Lambert
Southampton forward Rickie Lambert has been the club's most prolific goalscorer this season, netting 11 goals in 25 Premier League appearances for the Saints.
The 30-year-old English striker has scored three goals in his last five PL outings and will be aiming for goal No. 100 versus City (via ESPN UK).
Rickie Lambert will celebrate his 100th Southampton goal (when he scores it) with a significant delay, five years or so es.pn/11GT8ue— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) February 5, 2013
Mauricio Pochettino will need Lambert to be firing on all cylinders come Saturday evening, as Manchester City has given the fewest amount of goals of any PL club this season, having surrendered just 21 in 25 matches.
Manchester City Player to Watch: David Silva
Spanish midfielder David Silva is a versatile player for Roberto Mancini's club and one who should have a significant impact on Saturday's away match.
The 5'7" wizard is a joy to watch with the ball at his feet and can demoralize opposing defenses with a back-breaking goal or a highlight reel-worthy assist. Silva has three goals and five assists in 22 PL appearances for City this season.
Keep an eye out for Silva on Saturday, as his all-around brilliance in midfield is sure to showcase itself against Southampton.
Key Matchup: Southampton's Back Line vs. Manchester City's Firepower
Which group will get the better of the other?
The Saints couldn't contain City's offensive genius late in the two clubs' first match this season, and it burned them. On Saturday, Southampton's back line will need to keep Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and company in check, as the Blues have scored 13 goals in their last six PL matches.
On the other hand, Southampton has conceded six goals in its past four PL outings.
Against a squad as offensively potent as City, Southampton's best shot is to keep the scoring down and hope for a draw or, better yet, a late goal to break the tie. If Pochettino's club can't keep City's offense under wraps, it doesn't stand much of a chance this weekend.
These two clubs haven't met since their season opener back in mid-August. City won that match 3-2 but needed a late rally to come away with the victory at home.
Although Southampton will compete on Saturday, I'm not sure it has enough motivation to contend with City over the course of 90-plus minutes. Mancini's Blues are in second place and gunning for their rivals at this point, meaning they can't afford to miss out on points in matches like this one.
Look for City to come away with a narrow win on the road this weekend.
Southampton 1, Manchester City 2
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