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Etihad Stadium (ATT 42,895) 1st January 2005 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: C Foy

Man City Manchester City vs Southampton So'ton

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So'ton 1

Shaun shines as City win

By Richard Jolly.   Last Updated: 01/01/05 4:50pm

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After 150 home Premiership games, Manchester City have an even record: 50 wins, 50 draws and 50 defeats. Their fiftieth victory, however, was anything but an even game as Southampton slumped to a 2-1 loss.

In torrential rain, City clinched the three points before half time, illuminated by a stunning strike by Shaun Wright-Phillips after Paul Bosvelt's headed opener.

And City, consistently inconsistent, produced the kind of performance that usually prompts Kevin Keegan to optimistically tip them for a top six finish.

But Southampton endured a miserable 2004 and started 2005 with a dismal display; they were especially insipid in the first 45 minutes when Harry Redknapp's unambitious 4-5-1 formation failed to prevent City storming forward.

It only took City 19 minutes to make the breakthrough. From Robbie Fowler's inswinging corner, the unmarked Richard Dunne headed to the equally unattended Bosvelt to score from close range.

Buoyed by Bosvelt's goal and their superiority on the right flank, City were unrelenting. The reluctance of the ineffectual Neil McCann to track back left the inexperienced Martin Cranie exposed against the rapid Wright-Phillips. With Danny Mills overlapping enthusiastically, it was as one-sided a contest as the match itself.

Nicolas Anelka, nursing a New Year hangover, scuffed a shot straight at Antti Niemi. Wright-Phillips made greater use of the space he was afforded, drawing a fine save from the agile Niemi and providing a cross for Fowler to head past the Finn, only for Danny Higginbotham to dash back and chest clear on the goal line.

But it was a venture infield that brought Wright-Phillips his seventh of the season. Picking up the ball in the centre circle, he skipped past David Prutton in the midfield mudbath, accelerated and whipped a 30-yard shot that flicked Niemi's post on its way in.

City should have scored more goals. Joey Barton lofted a shot way over the bar, Dunne was inches away from meeting a Mills chance and substitute Jon Macken shot inches wide in injury time.

But the final goal of the game from Southampton as City, who had contrived to a concede a goal to a West Brom team who did not have a shot on Tuesday, were deprived of a clean sheet again.

Kevin Phillips converted a penalty after Sylvain Distin tripped Peter Crouch, brought on in a half-time Redknapp reshuffle.

It was necessary; though both McCann and Rory Delap had chances either side of Wright-Phillips' goal, both made a mess of them. Southampton's malaise was summed up by the sight of Danny Higginbotham as their set-piece specialist.

Crouch brought some purpose to the attack and, but for David James' athletic block, he would have scored. Phillips thought he did when he turned in a Fabrice Fernandes cross, only to be denied by the offside verdict.

Though City specialise in snatching draws and defeat from the jaws of victory, Phillips' eventual strike was too late to do that and only succeeded in masking the hosts' earlier dominance.

Click on fixture for player ratings
Manchester City v Southampton

Manchester CityTeam NameSouthampton
2Goals1
8Shots on target ( Inc Goals )2
7Shots off Target (inc woodwork)5
0Blocked Shots0
9Corners Won8
13Total Fouls Conceded9
1Offsides3
0Yellow Cards0
0Red Cards0
49%Possession51%

 

Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 32 76
2 Manchester City 34 67
3 Arsenal 32 66
4 Manchester United 33 65
5 Liverpool 33 58
6 Tottenham Hotspur 34 58
7 Southampton 34 57
8 Swansea City 34 50
9 Stoke City 34 47
10 West Ham United 34 44
11 Crystal Palace 34 42
12 Everton 33 41
13 West Bromwich Albion 34 37
14 Newcastle United 34 35
15 Aston Villa 34 32
16 Hull City 33 31
17 Leicester City 33 31
18 Sunderland 33 30
19 Queens Park Rangers 34 27
20 Burnley 34 26

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