There’s absolutely no shame in losing to the champions – which is what I feel Southampton did at Manchester City.
Manchester City are the obvious candidates to win the Premier League title in my view, not just because they beat Saints 4-1.
They have the best squad of any of the three teams left in the race, and have wonderful strength in depth. World-class players run right through the team; Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero (when fit again).
Liverpool may have the slightly better strike force, but City have the superior midfield for me.
Right across the middle, they have match winners who can turn a game. The likes of Toure, Silva and Samir Nasri have done so on a consistent basis this season. You sense that Liverpool still rely on Steven Gerrard to create chances from deep whilst Philippe Coutinho continues to be fitful at best.
At the back, I feel that Man City are stronger than the Reds too.
This is mostly down to the leadership, strength and colossal defensive ability of Kompany, who makes the whole City defence a solid unit. Pablo Zabaleta is also top-class and Aleksandar Kolarov provides outstanding quality from left-back.
Only Chelsea have a better defensive record this season but that’s assisted by Jose Mourinho’s more cautious approach.
City’s all-round excellence was clear to see against Saints. I was delighted with how we controlled the game in the first half. Despite all the possession though, Manuel Pellegrini’s men defended well and kept us down to few chances.
Then they showed the ruthlessness going forward that cuts teams down in an instant. In full flow, their attacking play is as good as it gets – so they don’t need assistant referees gifting them goals.
The offside that wasn’t given in the build-up to the second goal was an absolute disgrace and one could see it clearly without the need for a replay.
Somehow the linesman didn’t and it summed up the utter incompetence shown by officials this season. Mistakes can be forgiven, but that one was so bad that one wonders how it could have been made.
The third and fourth goals were superb in their simplicity. Two crosses that were fantastic in my view. Saints fans have been critical of Paulo Gazzaniga but credit here must go to the wonderful delivery in both cases.
The real disaster for Saints was the injury to Jay Rodriguez. It was a huge shame to see him in such agony. It’s so cruel for him to have to miss the World Cup as he has deserved to go. No player in the league is as under-rated as Rodriguez, who’s been pivotal to our excellent season.
The rest of the campaign is merely about playing well and not enduring more injuries for Southampton; for City, it’s all about the title.
One day I hope it’s Saints who are challenging for the crown.