Man City 3 – Tevez (40), Dzeko (72), Nasri (80)
Southampton 2 – Lambert (59), S Davis (68)
Manchester City opened their Premier League campaign with a sloppy home victory against newly promoted Southampton. In typical City fashion, they laboured across the finish line, eventually going on to take the 3 points at the Etihad Stadium.
Carlos Tevez gave City the lead in the first half. Southampton then scored twice in the second half thanks to strikes from Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis. Edin Dzeko poked one back before Samir Nasri fired in the winner with City barley doing enough to hold on for the 3 points.
With new boy, Jack Rodwell, making his debut for City it took a while for the Champions to get into their stride. Southampton played with all the confidence of a team that is used to winning which, of course, they are after two successive promotions which has landed them back in the Premier League.
Early on, Sergio Aguero fell awkwardly after a fair challenge from Southampton full back Nathanial Clyne much to the concern of his colleagues and the City fans. Eventually, the Argentine was carried off on a stretcher with little known, at this stage, as to whether Aguero’s right knee is seriously injured.
With City retaining possession more comfortably as the game wore on Tevez was fouled by Jos Hooiveld to earn City a penalty after 16 minutes. David Silva stepped up to convert spot kick but failed miserably with a tame effort. In spite of this, City grew in stature and Jack Rodwell, in particular, showed some assured touches.
Eventually, Tevez fired City into the lead after latching onto a delicious Nasri through ball with a low finish past Southampton ‘keeper Kelvin Davies on the 40 minute mark. The goal seemed to galvanise City and a plethora of chances ensued at the end of the first half and beginning of the second.
Silva missed a glorious chance to double City’s lead early in the second half which, on reflection, represented the end of the City storm which Southampton survived. City’s inability to hold possession comfortably and their vulnerability to counter attacks lead to two Southampton goals within the space of 10 minutes.
To City’s credit, they dug deep to find the equaliser with the prospect of a major embarrassment looming large. First, Dzeko fed off the scraps of a corner to fire the ball home. 8 minutes later, Nasri capped a good performance with the winning goal after he fired home inside a crowded penalty area. With the lead restored City were afforded the opportunity to stamp their authority on the game and see it out comfortably.
On the contrary, Southampton roused themselves and made the final 10 minutes of the game extremely uncomfortable for the home team. The game could have quite easily ended on level terms but City just about held on to claim the 3 points.
It was not exactly the start that Roberto Mancini would have envisaged. With an inability to hold possession and often looking wide open in defence the performance was far from convincing. The Sergio Aguero situation will also offer little comfort to Mancini. One thing is for sure though, City have it all to do if they are to successfully defend their Premier League title.
Manchester City team
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Nasri, Rodwell, Silva (Balotelli),Yaya Toure, Aguero (Dzeko), Tevez (Kolarov)
Subs: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Savic, Milner, De Jong, Dzeko, Balotelli
K David, Clyne, Hooiveld, Fonte, Fox, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse (S Davis), Lallana, Guly, Puncheon (Sharp), Rodriquez (Lambert)
Subs: Gazzaniga, Richardson, Shaw, Seabourne, S Davis, Lambert, Sharp