Southampton stunned dethroned champions Manchester City with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at St Mary’s Stadium.
Having thrashed newly-crowned champions Liverpool 4-0 on Thursday evening, Guardiola decided to shuffle the squad, making six changes. Southampton could play with no relegation fears entering the game on 40 points.
Southampton Forward Che Adams was having his worst run without a goal in senior football – 35 games – and hadn’t scored in any of his previous 29 games since joining Southampton for £15m from Birmingham last summer.
That changed in spectacular fashion as Zinchenko was caught in possession by Armstrong, with Adams taking advantage of Ederson being well off his line to lob the City goalkeeper from 35 yards.
The goal sparked the visitors into life as Danny Ings was in the right place to hook clear a Joao Cancelo cross from underneath his own crossbar. City started to dominate the ball, taking up residence in the Southampton half and creating chance after chance.
Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was then called into action twice in the space of 30 seconds, with Fernadinho striking the post as City peppered the Southampton goal through Raheem Sterling and David Silva rebounds, but Hasenhuttl’s side somehow survived.
Southampton brought the resilience, putting their bodies on the line, throwing themselves into tackles and relying on their goalkeeper McCarthy, when they needed him.
Guardiola may have suspected it might not be their day when McCarthy was in the right place to keep out a venomous drive by Riyad Mahrez before the interval.
The City boss was nearly celebrating an equaliser two minutes after the restart when Gabriel Jesus’ header from close range was kept out again by the overworked McCarthy.
City huffed and they puffed – producing 26 shots in this game – their highest tally in a Premier League match without scoring since March 2016 against Manchester United.
But Southampton grew in belief that an unlikely victory would be secured. The result moves Southampton up to 13th in the table while City remain on 66 points in second place, 23 points off champions Liverpool after a ninth league defeat of the season.
“Our plan was to force them into mistakes and to be clinical and quick in the mind. It was the perfect first-time strike from Che,” Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said.
“It’s unbelievable to take points against such a team, you see how they play. We invested so much today, every player. I’m very proud of my team.”
Southampton travel to face Everton at Goodison Park on Thursday, while Manchester City host Newcastle on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.
Other Premier League results
Burnley 1-1 Sheffield United
Newcastle United 2-2 West Ham United
Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa