Today when the saints kick off against the citizens there will be an unhappy man sitting in the away dug out. Manuel Pellegrini has one of the biggest matches in his managerial career on Wednesday and his requests to get today's match played a day earlier where met with unsympathetic ears by the premier league. One imagines a league executive getting a hand on his shoulder and a whisper in his ear from sky TV before turning down the opportunity.
In la liga the champions league sides alway play on a Saturday so its advantage Madrid.
Last time Pellegrini moaned about this problem he fielded a team full of youth players. They actually did well before falling to defeat against Chelsea.
That was an FA cup game, this is a league match and City still have much to fight for. After Madrid is a game against their main rivals for a top 3 place, Arsenal. Manchester United are waiting just below them in the league hoping to leapfrog the losers.
So there might not be too many new faces later but the manager will be within his rights to prioritise champions league glory over a top 4 place finish that only helps his successor.
To the predictions:
A victory over Villa was as inevitable, conceding two goals to Ashley Westwood was unforgivable. Everyone predicted a win and gets a point.
*Latecomers to the league
"Southampton are in good shape, with only one defeat in their past seven games overall and four wins in their past six at home, but I think City will deal with them."
"I like Southampton, Manchester City will have to rest players and take a chance, and they're not playing Stoke."
"I think we'll nick a 1-1 draw with City's European distractions taking precedent over our game."
"I'll go with a 2-1 win. Not sure why, but as Jake said, maybe City are a bit distracted."
"2-2 for me. Think Aguero won't play a full game, and De Bruyne will be rested altogether with Silva missing (and Kompany). We all know they're a different team without that lot, but our defence has been leaky recently. Wouldn't mind seeing a back 5 with Shane up alongside Pelle."
"The villa performance wasn't very impressive. Think City have enough riding on this game to eek out the win.