Manchester City 5-2 Southampton - City get back to winning ways in Etihad goalfest
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after scoring their team's fifth goal with teammate Phil Foden during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on March 10, 2021 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Manchester City put Sunday's derby disappointment behind them as they saw off a resolute Southampton at the Etihad Stadium.

Riyad Mahrez (2), Kevin De Bruyne (2) and Ikay Gundogan were all on the scoresheet for the hosts, who were made to work for their victory by a stubborn Southampton outfit.

The victory leaves City 14 points clear at the summit of the Premier League table ahead of their clash with Fulham on Saturday evening.

Story of the Match

The hosts made a string of changes heading into the clash, with Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva all brought into the side. De Bruyne occupied the false nine position in the absence of a traditional striker.

Meanwhile, for the Saints, Alex McCarthy was back between the sticks, with Jack Stephens, Che Adams, Moussa Djenpo, Mohammed Salisu and Nathan Remond all brought into the starting lineup.

It was Southampton who started the quicker of the two sides, with Ralph Hassenhuttl's side enjoying the lions share of possession in the opening quarter of an hour.

But despite all their possession, the Saints failed to test the gloves of Ederson between the City sticks, and the hosts made them pay for their lack of a cutting edge as they took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the evening.

Oleksandr Zinchenko's low cross found Foden in the middle, his shot was saved by McCarthy but only as far as De Bruyne, who was on hand to turn the rebound home off the underside of the bar.

Despite falling behind, Southampton continued to press and found themselves with the opportunity to level proceedings from the penalty spot ten minutes later, with Laporte adjudged to have brought down Jannick Vestergaard.

James Ward-Prowse stepped up and fired home from the spot to give the visitors a deserved equaliser.

Manchester City thought they should have been awarded a penalty of their own on the half-hour mark when Foden was brought down by McCarthy as he looked to capitalise on a sloppy pass from the English keeper.

Jonathan Moss waved the appeals away and, to the surprise of everyone inside the Etihad, so did VAR as McCarthy was handed a get out of jail free card.

The Southampton reprieve didn't last long though, as Mahrez continued his fine run of form with a trademark left-footed effort from the edge of the box just before half-time, one which left McCarthy with absolutely no chance.

The Algerian was back at it again shortly after, turning the Southampton defence inside and out before hitting the post with a low driven effort and this time it was Ilkay Gundogan who was quickest to react, tapping home to double his side's advantage heading into the break.

It was a whirlwind start to the second half, as Manchester City grabbed a quick fourth through Mahrez, before Adams cut the deficit less than 60 seconds later.

City made it five two minutes later though, as sloppy defending from the visitors allowed De Bruyne too much room in the box and the Belgian made them pay by stroking the ball past McCarthy to regain the Citizens three-goal cushion.

Both sides rang the changes as the half wore on, with Sergio Aguero, Ferran Torres and Benjamin Mendy all getting important minutes under their belt. Ibrahima Diallo, Nathan Tella and Caleb Watts came on for the Saints.

Ward-Prowse looked as though he'd bagged himself a second as the game wore on, curling a fine finish past Ederson. But the assistant's flag was up to deny the Englishman.

Substitutes Torres and Aguero both had opportunities to add to City's advantage in the dying embers, but neither could find a way past McCarthy as an entertaining evening in East Manchester ended five goals to two.