With a 1-0 Saturday victory away to Southampton, Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League.
There was pressure on Pep Guardiola’s men 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, to find a way past a Southampton side who looked one of the most impressive in the league this season.
A Raheem Sterling objective proved crucial, with England delivering a composite finish in the first half to win maximum points on the south coast.
In the second half, the Saints pressed hard but could not break through a resilient City defense as they endured only a fourth loss of the 2020-21 league.
City weathered some early pressure from Southampton and forced Alex McCarthy into a smart save to keep out Joao Cancelo’s powerful shot.
The breakthrough came in the 16th minute, allowing Kevin De Bruyne space to cross for Sterling to sweep home from near the penalty spot for the first time.
Saints reacted well, threatening through Danny Ings, who wanted a penalty from Ruben Dias’ high boot, and a Jannik Vestergaard header kept by Ederson.
As Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side raised the pressure after the interval, De Bruyne missed a decent chance on the break, enjoying close to 53 percent of the possession in the second half having had less than half the ball in the first half.
After a defensive mix-up, Che Adams was only unable to turn a header on goal, but it was a rare moment of doubt on the back of City, who now had four clean sheets in five league matches.
McCarthy saved superbly from a strike by Ilkay Gundogan, but there was no way for the home side to put Ederson under equal strain.