Where: St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England
When: Saturday, Feb. 9, at 12:30 p.m. ET
Watch: FOX Soccer
Live Stream: FOX Soccer 2Go
City sits second in the Premier League table, nine points behind rivals Manchester United. Nine points is already a big enough gap to make up in 13 matches. Making the difference any larger would almost certainly extinguish Manchester City's hopes of repeating as champions.
For Southampton, it's all about avoiding the drop. The Saints sit three points clear of Wigan, who are in 17th place.
It's been a nice, albeit unspectacular, run for the club over the last month-and-a-half. Southampton has only lost once in its last eight games, while only picking up one win over the same period.
Southampton Player to Watch: Rickie Lambert
Despite his critics, Rickie Lambert has remained a steady scorer of goals. His 11 Premier League goals are tied for fifth among all players.
It's a pleasure to watch a player like Lambert work his way up the divisions and get his just due. Some might have thought the jump to the top division in English football would have been too much for him. So far, he's proven those people wrong.
Lambert scored an equalizer to make it 1-1 when Southampton played City in the first week of the season.
If the Saints are going to have any chance of picking up a result, Lambert will need to be at the top of his game, constantly threatening Joe Hart in goal.
Manchester City Player to Watch: Yaya Toure
After missing a month for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Yaya Toure will be making his return to the City lineup.
Last year, the club did well enough when he was gone, but that wasn't the case this year. Swapping Nigel de Jong with Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell hasn't quite worked out well for Roberto Mancini so far this season.
Toure's absence was especially apparent in City's draw with Liverpool last week. The Reds were able to really take the game to City and get out on the front foot.
Now that he's back, Mancini should be breathing a sigh of relief.
With so much on the line for the Citizens, it's hard to see them walking out of Southampton without the full three points.
The last time these two clubs met, City came out 3-2 victors. Despite only being the 26th game of the season, there's a ton of urgency for Manchester City in this match. This would be a perfect time for City to make up some ground on United. The Red Devils welcome in a very strong Everton side.
Southampton's defensive record has only improved slightly in the past few weeks. The Saints can't afford to dig themselves into a hole.
Getting anything out of this match is simply a bridge too far.
Manchester City 2, Southampton 0
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