|'We conceded a goal that I have never seen in my life'|
City manager Roberto Mancini on
Gareth Barry's freak own-goal
Southampton continued their promising start under new manager Mauricio Pochettino with a fine home victory against Premier League Champions Manchester City.
City's defence of the Premier League title was dealt another blow at St Mary's as a seriously improved Southampton side took advantage of a series of individual mistakes to record an emphatic 3-1 win, lifting them six points clear of the relegation zone.
City Captain Vincent Kompany was still missing through injury, so summer signing Javi Garcia was drafted in at the centre of defence alongside Joleon Lescott. The away side looked vulnerable from the beginning and were punished in the seventh minute as Saints winger Jason Puncheon dispossessed Gareth Barry and opened the scoring, slotting into an empty net after Joe Hart had saved well from Jay Rodriguez.
Southampton doubled their lead shortly afterwards, as midfielder Steven Davis poked home from close-range after a dreadful error from England goalkeeper Joe Hart as he failed to hold Ricky Lambert's powerful drive.
Manchester City showed some first-half resolve as Edin Dzeko's unorthodox finish pulled a goal back following an exceptional counter-attack started by the Bosnian on the edge of his own area.
Referee Martin Atkinson denied Southampton the chance of a third first-half goal by refusing to give a penalty after Yaya Toure, recently returned from International duty with Cote D'ivoire, clumsily collided with Saints striker Rodriguez.
City's sluggish performance was summarised by Gareth Barry as the experienced midfielder slotted needlessly passed his own goalkeeper to gift Southampton a third goal, as well as their first victory of the season over a team in the top half of the Premier League.
The result gifts bitter rivals Manchester United the chance to go 12 points clear in the title race with a win against a strong Everton side on Sunday. Roberto Mancini was angry with his players after such a poor performance and all but conceded the title to Sir Alex Ferguson, saying "It'll be very difficult to win this league now. I used to always be optimistic and want to be in this moment, but it's difficult".