Southampton may be second in the Premier League table, but former Arsenal star Paul Merson is not impressed.
The ex-England international attacker does not believe that Ronald Koeman’s side are a top-two team and predicts them to lose to Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.
“I watched Southampton last week and I was disappointed,” Merson wrote on Skysports.com. “Everybody is telling me how great they are. I hadn’t seen them play before and I watched the Villa game and they didn’t look like a second-placed team to me.
"I said on Soccer Saturday they will finish seventh or eighth and I’m not going to change my mind from Monday’s performance.
“I didn’t think their attitude was great and I think they thought they just had to turn up and that wasn’t the case.”
Merson was referring to Southampton’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa away from home in the Premier League on Monday.
It was one of the Saints’ more disappointing matches of the season in which they actually had to come from behind to pick up a point.
Sunday’s opponents City are the defending English champions and have one of the best squads in England, if not in Europe - and Merson believes that Southampton will not be able to cope with the threat of Sergio Aguero and his teammates.
“I think they’ll be better against City, but how do you stop Aguero?” predicted Merson. “I don’t see how you can stop him; he’s up there with the best in world.
“City are a great team to watch at the moment because if it goes to form, and Chelsea beat Sunderland, they have to win - draws are no good. We know they’re going to finish in the top four but they’ve got to go out every week and try to win.”
Manuel Pellegrini’s City will indeed be favourites to win on Sunday, but a quick look at the table would suggest that dismissing Southampton right away would be a mistake.
Southampton are actually two points clear of City in second place in the Premier League table, and they will be keen on showing that it is no fluke at St. Mary’s Stadium on Sunday.