Manchester City travel to the St Mary’s on Sunday to take on Ralph Hassenhütl’s Southampton in the FA Cup quarter-final, as Pep Guardiola’s men aim to make it FA Cup number seven, with their previous triumph in the competition coming in 2019, where they thumped fellow Premier League outfit Watford 6-0.
The Saints’ last FA Cup success came way back in 1976, as they beat Manchester United.
Hassenhüttl’s side have faced quite a tricky route to get to where they are, having overcome Championship Swansea City and Coventry City, before beating David Moyes’ West Ham United in the last-16.
On the other hand, the visitors have oozed past Swindon Town, Fulham and Peterborough United, as they bid to win the treble with the Premier League and Champions League still very realistic options of silverware for City.
In Friday’s press conference, the Saints’ boss revealed the only long-term absentees are goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and summer signing Lyanco.
For City, centre-back Ruben Dias is still missing with a hamstring injury, although the Portuguese international was pictured back on the training pitch earlier this week.
Southampton: Caballero; Walker-Peters, Stephens, Salisu, Perraud; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo; Adams, Broja
Manchester City: Steffen; Walker, Stones, Ake, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Sterling, Jesus, Mahrez
Ones to watch
The 20-year-old Chelsea loanee has netted 12 times in all competitions for club and country this season, sealing the last round with a goal in the 95th minute vs West Ham.
The Albanian is a constant handful for defenders, not giving a minute’s peace, and with Nathan Ake expected to be back in the City line-up, it could prove to be a difficult afternoon for the Dutchman with Broja around.
Having been an unused substitute in City’s goalless draw at Selhurst Park in midweek, the Englishman is surely set to return to the line-up.
The constant foray of chances went unpunished on several occasions against Crystal Palace, and Pep Guardiola will surely bring back one of his trusted goal scorers from previous seasons for Sunday’s contest.
Both previous fixtures between the two sides have ended in draws, with the last coming earlier this year in January, where the Citizens cancelled out Kyle Walker-Peters’ earlier goal thanks to Aymeric Laporte header.
Prior to both draws, City were on a two-game winning run, with Southampton’s last victory over the Premier League champions coming in July 2020.
What the managers have said
In the last campaign, the Saints’ suffered at the hands of the eventual FA Cup winners Leicester City in the semi-final, and Hassenhüttl is fully aware of how great it would be to give the St Mary’s faithful a trip to Wembley, with last season’s semi-final played without spectators.
“Last season we have been in the semi-final and we have seen how fantastic this was for the club. For the fans it will be a massive thing to go to the semi-final at Wembley and this is definitely important for us,” he said.
However, Sunday’s opponents will prove to be a tough test.
Ahead of the game, Pep Guardiola said: “We respect the FA cup a lot. It is great. We know how difficult it will be away at Southampton. I trust my team a lot. We will try to do it.”
How to watch
The game will be free to view for everyone in the UK live on BBC One and via the BBC iPlayer. Kick-off is at 3PM, with coverage set to start at 2:30PM.