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Man City held by Saints after Stones error

Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho has scored eight times in his past 11 Premier League games

Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League despite seeing their winless streak extend to a fifth game as Southampton earned a deserved draw.

The visitors led when John Stones’ sloppy pass allowed Nathan Redmond to round Claudio Bravo and slot in.

City improved after being booed off by some home fans at the break, equalising when half-time substitute Kelechi Iheanacho prodded in Leroy Sane’s low cross.

Pep Guardiola’s side controlled the second half as they searched for a winner, but Saints keeper Fraser Forster produced splendid saves to deny Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva.

City’s inability to grab a second goal means ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola has failed to win in five successive matches for only the second time in his managerial career.

However, the point was still enough to lift the Blues back above Arsenal and Liverpool to the Premier League summit.

Southampton stay eighth after extending their unbeaten league run to a fifth game.

  • Relive the action from Etihad Stadium

City stutter… again

City’s recent struggles are barely believable after the swaggering start they made to the season, when they won all of Guardiola’s opening 10 matches.

The former Spain international had been forced to defend his tactics following Wednesday’s 4-0 Champions League defeat at his former club Barcelona, which came after their first loss of the season at Tottenham and the subsequent home draw against Everton.

But there were signs of the home support becoming frustrated with his team’s build-from-the-back approach, not least when many could be heard jeering their team off at the break after Stones’ error.

City lacked aggression and tempo in the opening 45 minutes, allowing an organised Southampton side to contain them and then burst forward on the break.

Guardiola had to act – and he did that decisively at the break.

Off came Kevin de Bruyne – City’s stand-out performer this season – with young striker Iheanacho introduced in his place.

As a result, City had much more purpose and drive, typified by the desire showed by Iheanacho to beat Saints defender Virgil van Dijk to Sane’s cross and prod in the equaliser.

Stones not quite rolling

Stones is the only player to feature in every match of Guardiola’s reign following his £47.5m summer move from Everton, impressing his new manager with his composure and ability to play out comfortably from the back.

But critics have argued the England international is guilty of over-playing, leaving himself open to making mistakes. They were proved right on both counts when he gifted Southampton the lead.

After receiving the ball just outside his own area, Stones tried to pass inside to returning skipper Vincent Kompany – instead playing it behind his captain and straight to Redmond.

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John Stones made 58 passes against Southampton, with his 84.5% passing accuracy (shown by the blue arrows) only bettered by four City team-mates. However, his misplaced pass which led to Redmond’s goal – illustrated by the yellow arrow closest to his own goal – was costly.

The 22-year-old thought he had redeemed himself five minutes later, guiding in De Bruyne’s curling free-kick with a far-post volley – but it was ruled out for offside and instead his impact on this game will be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Stones has now made four errors leading to goals since the start of last season – more than any other outfield Premier League player.

  • Analysis: Why have Man City paid £47.5m for Stones?

Saints go marching on

Southampton arrived at a sunny Etihad Stadium with the intention of ending a miserable record of six successive defeats at the ground.

Arguably this was their greatest opportunity in recent seasons, having showed they were starting to click under new manager Claude Puel while City had been toiling.

The Frenchman saw his side earn just two points in his first four games after replacing Ronald Koeman, but any doubts about his appointment appear to have been curtailed by a rich vein of form.

Saints were compact and organised defensively, while not afraid to use the pace of Redmond and Dusan Tadic on the break.

True, their goal was gifted to them and they also managed just one other shot on target – but despite not creating many chances, they did threaten to stretch City on a number of occasions and deserved a point for their work-rate and commitment alone.

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Redmond scored in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since August 2015

Man of the match – Oriol Romeu (Southampton)

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Midfielder Oriol Romeu made more passes and more tackles than any other Southampton player

Post-match reaction

Southampton boss Claude Puel:

“We can be satisfied with this point, we played against a good team and it was important to keep a good structure. We took our chances to score and after we defended well.

“My players played just two days ago in the Europa League, they were tired, but showed good spirit and organisation.

“Against fantastic players it was good to take a point and not disappointing. It was hard to defend at the end of the game but I am very satisfied.”

Stats of the day

  • Guardiola is winless in five games as a manager for the first time since March 2009.
  • Iheanacho has now netted 11 goals from 17 shots on target in his Premier League career.
  • Manchester City had just three shots on target against Southampton – their fewest in a game under Guardiola.
  • Sergio Aguero has gone three Premier League games without a goal for the first time since December 2015.
  • Oriol Romeu made eight tackles against Manchester City, the most by a Southampton player in a Premier League game this season.

What’s next?

The not-so small matter of a Manchester derby for City. The Blues aim to end their winless run when they visit United in the EFL Cup fourth round on Wednesday (20:00 BST).

Southampton are also in midweek cup action, hosting top-flight rivals Sunderland on Wednesday (19:45 BST).

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester City 1, Southampton 1.

Second Half ends, Manchester City 1, Southampton 1.

Foul by Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City).

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.

Attempt blocked. Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by David Silva with a cross.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by José Fonte.

Fraser Forster (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Fernandinho (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by John Stones following a corner.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Sam McQueen.

Substitution, Manchester City. Nolito replaces Leroy Sané.

Attempt blocked. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan.

Attempt blocked. Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

Offside, Southampton. James Ward-Prowse tries a through ball, but Nathan Redmond is caught offside.

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Aleksandar Kolarov.

Attempt missed. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan.

Substitution, Southampton. James Ward-Prowse replaces Charlie Austin.

Foul by Jesús Navas (Manchester City).

Charlie Austin (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Jesús Navas (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Steven Davis (Southampton).

Substitution, Manchester City. Jesús Navas replaces Vincent Kompany.

Attempt missed. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Raheem Sterling with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by José Fonte.

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by José Fonte (Southampton).

Attempt missed. Steven Davis (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Charlie Austin (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sofiane Boufal.

Attempt saved. David Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan.

Offside, Southampton. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg tries a through ball, but Cuco Martina is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Sofiane Boufal (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Oriol Romeu.

Substitution, Southampton. Sofiane Boufal replaces Dusan Tadic.

Attempt saved. Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kelechi Iheanacho.

Substitution, Southampton. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg replaces Jordy Clasie.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by José Fonte.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Cuco Martina.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37670364