Premier League: Chelsea, City seek to restore home advantage
Last season`s top two, Chelsea and Manchester City, are keen to reverse the most striking statistic of the new Premier League season this weekend - and they are not the only ones.
London: Last season`s top two, Chelsea and Manchester City, are keen to reverse the most striking statistic of the new Premier League season this weekend - and they are not the only ones.
Of the 30 matches played in the opening three rounds, only six have resulted in home wins, with more than twice as many going the way of the visitors, while the other 11 have been drawn.
Even at such an early stage of the campaign, leaders City are one of just three teams with a 100 per cent home record - Swansea City and Liverpool being the others - though each have played just one home match so far.
Having beaten champions Chelsea 3-0 in their only game at the Etihad Stadium, City will be confident of seeing off Watford for their fourth successive win of the campaign, although Quique Flores` promoted side are unbeaten in the league, having drawn all three matches.
Chelsea, undefeated at home in winning the title last season, suffered an opening-day setback at Stamford Bridge this time when goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was sent off and Swansea City held them to a 2-2 draw.
Last weekend captain John Terry was dismissed at West Bromwich Albion, so he will miss the London derby with fifth-placed Crystal Palace.
Swansea won their only home game to date, against Newcastle, but now face a tougher task with a visit on Sunday from Manchester United, who must hope there is no hangover from Wednesday`s Champions League qualifying rout of Bruges.
Liverpool will be confident of beating West Ham, whose dreadful record at Anfield suggests their supporters should save the train fare -- the Londoners have not won there since 1963, 42 games ago.
Arsenal`s form exemplifies the unusual trend of home and away results. They go to Newcastle in the early Saturday match after failing to score in two games at the Emirates but having won their only game on the road.
Equally unexpected is the fact that Bournemouth and unbeaten Leicester City, both widely regarded as relegation material, have belied expectations ahead of their meeting on the south coast.
West Brom manager Tony Pulis returns to one of his old clubs, Stoke City, for a meeting of two teams that have yet to win.
Like West Ham at Liverpool, it is a trip that bottom-of-the-table Albion do not relish - a victory there in 2012 was their first for 30 years.
The other teams hoping to improve the overall ratio of home wins this term are Aston Villa against Sunderland, Tottenham Hostpur versus Everton and, on Sunday, Southampton against Norwich City.