Manchester City reaffirmed their status as Premier League favourites after seeing off a spirited Southampton display to get all three points at the Etihad Stadium.

The league leaders struggled to break down a well-organised visiting team and went into half-time goalless – a rarity for a side that has scored 44 goals in their opening 14 matches.

However, Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick was deflected in by Virgil van Dijk just minutes after the break to put City in control.

The Saints refused to give in, however, and were rewarded in the 75th minute when Oriol Romeu struck to put his side on the verge of an upset – only Everton have taken points off the Pep Guardiola’s side.

The hosts continued their attacking to the final whistle, and Raheem Sterling scored with a fine, curling effort in the 96th minute to give his club all three points, which means that they remain eight points ahead of neighbours Manchester United, to spark joyous scenes.