Sunderland’s ship of improved away form runs aground at Fulham

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Four road games without defeat may suggest that the away day maladies that haunted Sunderland in the early part of Gus Poyet’s reign have been remedied, but don’t be duped by this façade.

At 6/5, Fulham look a great price for the win that will put a nine-point cushion between them and the basement boys. The away side are a beefier 11/5, with the draw an even fatter 12/5, though both chunky prices should be swerved in favour of the less exciting, more rewarding punt on the hosts.

The reason behind this is, despite a recent upturn in fortunes on their travels, Sunderland only picked up one victory, drawing three. Their win came at Everton, largely owing to the fact that the Toffees’ keeper Tim Howard was sent off in the 23rd minute, while the 2-2 they earned at Cardiff came after being two goals down and pummelled throughout the match.

Points cobbled at claret pair West Ham and Aston Villa were well-warranted, but the Wearsiders couldn’t score in either game. This is an issue the club have lugged around with them for the bulk of Poyet’s short tenure and it will resurface to their cost at Craven Cottage.

In the first five road games the Uruguayan manned the rudder for, Sunderland failed to find the back of the net. The three they’ve managed from his seven away games in total all came in the previous two matches, helping billow their smokescreen of good form. This must encourage a bet on a Fulham clean sheet here at the strong price of 19/10.

The flames of temptation are fed some more gasoline in the form of the Cottagers’ head-to-head record with their upcoming adversaries. Rene Meulensteen’s men have kept a lid on Sunderland’s attempts to sully their sheets in seven of their previous 11 renewals of hostilities.

Only three of these seven have ended in Fulham glory, but those who fancy a fourth will be compensated to the tune of 11/4 should they triumph without conceding this time around.

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

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