We don’t envy Premier League goalkeepers here at the Paddy Power Blog. Besides their juicy pay-packet, they’re rarely making the headlines and the only time we’d see a shot-stopper on the back page is when he’s dropped a clanger and cost his side three points. Unfortunately keepers are unlikely to usurp the flying wingers, delicate play-makers and relentless goal-baggers in the popularity stakes, despite their heroics.
This weekend however we’re pretty jealous of Joe Hart, as the Man City keeper gets set for a game that, in recent years, has been kinder than my nan at birthdays.
Stoke are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium and Joe Hart could well have spent the week contemplating what book he could read during the 90 minutes, rather than preparing for a bombardment of goal-attempts.
- Since both teams met for the first time in the Premier League in 2008 Stoke have played City in Manchester on seven occasions – six times in the top flight and once in the FA Cup. They have never won.
- More worryingly on six of those seven occasions they haven’t scored, bagging just one goal in the 2010 FA Cup 1-1 draw. Ricardo Fuller was the man who found the onion bag on that occasion for the Potters. They have never scored away to City in the Premier League.
- In the last five league games between Stoke and City at the Etihad Stadium, Stoke have managed just 10 shots on target in the combined 450 minutes of action, never finding the net. That’s just 10 shots on target in seven-and-a-half hours of football. Our advice to Joe Hart is maybe bring a soduku out with you to keep you amused.
Another concern for Stoke is that in their two games this season (against Aston Villa and Hull) just 25 per cent of their shots have been on target. Only Newcastle (22 per cent), Burnley (20 per cent) and Aston Villa (nine per cent) have posted lower shot accuracy averages in this campaign.
The 2/11 for Man City to pick up all three points won’t tempt many in, but the 5/6 for the home side to win to nil certainly should.