Man City v Fulham: Hart’s sheet to remain clean

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Manchester City host Fulham a day before Manchester United are in action and, ahead of their title rivals’ potentially difficult trip to Tottenham, they will be looking to bridge the gap at the top to four points, temporarily at least.

However, the Cottagers’ surprisingly strong recent record at the Etihad suggests Roberto Mancini’s men might not have it all their own way, despite their microscopic match odds of 1/4.

The west Londoners 3-0 defeat in this fixture last term was only the third time they’ve been on the wrong end of the result at City since both clubs shared Premier League status.

Fulham have, ergo, left unscathed from seven league visits to the Etihad which is enough to dub the home of the champions a happy hunting ground for these notoriously poor travellers.

They’re gargantuan 9/1 shots for an away-day victory, while the draw is a fairly mouth-watering 5/1.

Last season’s inability to find the net represented just the second time Martin Jol’s men couldn’t score on City’s patch. They’d managed to register over 1.5 goals in three of their previous four visits and, having warmed up for the game with two successive 2-1 wins on the road (though they did require extra-time to secure the second one), the towering price of 4/1 for them to surpass this goal line once more could prove a shrewd investment.

With City very much back on form, however, Fulham will have to pull up some General Sherman-sized trees in order to rekindle any of their fond Etihad memories.

Including their FA Cup victory over Watford, City have won three on the trot without concession and Joe Hart hasn’t been beaten in a home game since Robin van Persie’s stoppage-time free-kick crept by him; three teams have visited the champions since.

This offers appeal to the Man City clean sheet at a not too shabby 10/11, while the home win to nil must be worth a bet based on current form and 11/10 offers a respectable payout.

The hosts’ previous two home games have reaped 3-0 wins; a hat-trick of these would be very much welcomed with regards to their wavering title hopes and, at 13/2, this is the most attractive of correct score punts.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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