Manchester City is currently sitting top of the English Premier League table on 41 points at the halfway mark of their season, but an Arsenal win on Sunday will cause them to fall back to second place, which is not bad at all. Manchester City is having this wonderful season all due to their play at home in the Etihad Stadium.
City has played 10 of their 19 matches in the league at home so far, and have a perfect record of 10-0-0 with 38 goals scored and only six allowed. What makes this statistic even more impressive is that they have already faced No. 2 Arsenal (6-3), No. 4 Liverpool (2-1), No. 5 Everton (3-1), No. 6 Manchester United (4-1), No. 7 Newcastle United (4-0), No. 8 Tottenham Hotspur (6-0), No. 10 Hull City (2-0) Nd no. 11 Swansea City (3-0).
No other club in Premier League history has ever finished with a perfect home record over the course of the entire season, but three have come close, finishing 18-1-0. Those clubs were Chelsea 2005-06, Manchester United 2010-11, and Manchester City 2011-12; each of the clubs dropped points to a team that finished outside of the top 10.
Chelsea drew a 1-1 with Charlton Athletic on Jan. 22, 2006; Charlton would go on to finish 13th in the table. Manchester United’s only blemish came much earlier in the season with a 2-2 draw to West Bromwich Albion on Oct. 16, 2010. West Brom finished the season in 11th. Manchester City nearly made it to April with their perfect home record before a 3-3 draw with Sunderland on March 31, 2012; Sunderland would finish in 13th. City nearly lost that match, but was able to pull back two goals in the final five minutes to salvage a draw.
Of the nine remaining matches left at the Etihad Stadium for Manchester City, I see three potential slip ups, the first coming on Feb. 3 when No. 3 Chelsea comes to town. City will be coming off of a tough test at White Hart Lane against Tottenham; Chelsea, on the other hand, will have just played West Ham United at Stamford Bridge. City will have revenge on their mind, since in the last meeting it was Fernando Torres in stoppage time to snatch away the three points.
Nine days later, City hosts Sunderland, who are currently bottom of the table. On paper, this may not look like a match that should strike fear into the hearts of the Sky Blues, but as noted earlier, Sunderland was the only team to steal points from City back in 2012; Sunderland did also defeat City in the earlier fixture at the Stadium of Light by a score of 1-0. If Manchester City does not play down to their opponent, then this match should be three points for them.
Potential slip up No. 3 comes four days before the massive UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg contest at Barcelona, when current No. 13 Aston Villa makes a trip to the Etihad. Depending on the score in the Champions League tie, this match may see a good amount of the City regulars rested. Villa did beat City earlier in the season (3-2), and potentially up against City’s reserves, they could steal a point or more away. For those pulling for the perfect home record, this match could be the one that is most worrisome.
Don’t forget that two of the other clubs who finished closest to the perfect home record dropped points to a team who finished at 13, and who is currently sitting 13th in the Premier League? None other than Aston Villa.