Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory away to Southampton on Saturday.
After back-to-back draws with Manchester United and West Brom, and with neither Sergio Aguero nor Gabriel Jesus starting at St Mary’s Stadium, there was pressure on Pep Guardiola’s men to find a way past a Southampton side who have looked one of the most impressive in the league this season.
A goal from Raheem Sterling proved decisive, the England international producing a composed finish in the first half to secure maximum points on the south coast.
Saints pushed hard in the second half but could not break through a resilient City defence as they suffered just a fourth league loss of 2020-21.
City weathered some early Southampton pressure and forced Alex McCarthy into a smart save to keep out a powerful shot from Joao Cancelo.
The breakthrough came in the 16th minute, Kevin De Bruyne given space to cross for Sterling to sweep home first time from near the penalty spot.
Saints responded well, threatening through Danny Ings – who wanted a penalty from a high boot by Ruben Dias – and a header from Jannik Vestergaard that Ederson held.
De Bruyne missed a good chance on the break as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side stepped up the pressure after the interval, enjoying close to 53 per cent of the possession in the second half having had less than half the ball in the first.
Che Adams was just unable to turn a header on target after a defensive mix-up but that was a rare moment of uncertainty at the back from City, who have now kept four clean sheets in five league matches.
McCarthy saved superbly from an Ilkay Gundogan strike but the home side could not find a way to place Ederson under similar pressure.