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Saints will be aiming to storm one of the greatest fortresses in European football this weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men, fresh from their 4-0 destruction of Newcastle, will head to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday looking to derail the title challenge of Manchester City.

It is a monumental task that they face, with the favourites for the Premier League crown owning the best home record in the division this season.

They also possess one of the finest in Europe, not just this term, but over the last three campaigns.

Since the start of 2011/12, the year that they claimed the title ahead of bitter rivals Manchester United in such dramatic fashion, the Blues have won 45 of their 52 home league matches, drawing four and losing just three.

In that time, they have scored 144 goals and conceded only 36.

It is a sensational record, bettering those produced by teams such as Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain over the same period.

In fact, the only two teams in Europe’s top five divisions who can surpass it are Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

This season, Chelsea are the sole team in the Premier League to have left the Etihad without suffering defeat.

José Mourinho’s side actually took all three points from that encounter, with Branislav Ivanovic’s first-half goal earning them a 1-0 win, in February.

The game marked the first time since November 2010 that City had failed to score in a home league match.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side have averaged a quite astonishing 3.43 goals per match at the Etihad this season – by far and away the best in the division.

They have scored five or more goals on four occasions, with their biggest win being a 7-0 annihilation of Norwich in November.

Saints, however, have one of the best away defences in the Premier League, with only Chelsea and Everton having conceded fewer goals on their travels.

Pochettino’s side were also the only team to blunt the division’s other leading attack, beating Liverpool 1-0, at Anfield, in September.

Last season, they came close to earning a shock result at City, taking the lead twice before eventually losing 3-2 on the opening weekend of the campaign.

Earlier this term, the sides drew 1-1 at St Mary’s, with Dani Osvaldo’s stunning strike cancelling out Sergio Agüero’s early effort, in a match that was largely dominated by Saints.