Home comforts

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates with his team mates Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko (R) after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on January 3, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

City's win 1-0 victory away to Wigan at the DW Stadium last Monday ended a run of four games away from home without a win - a run of two wins and two draws since winning 3-2 away to QPR way back on November 5th - and a long time since the heady days of Autumn encapsulated by the emphatic performances away to Tottenham and Manchester United.

The three points at Wigan helped restore the lead at the top of the table (actually extending it over Tottenham, who could only draw against Wolves), but it was a performance that was more functional than fluent; more laboured than dynamic.

One area where City have been consistent though this season is at home. Continuing their fine form from the tail end of 2010/11 City have been dominant at The Etihad Stadium in the Premier League through 2011/12, winning all ten games, scoring 31 goals and conceding just four in the process. In fact, looking at the ten games, City have posted margins of victory of four goals twice, three goals four times, two goals twice and just one game with a solitary goal cushion. Home comforts have indeed been the bedrock of City's ascent to the top of the Premier League and helped them become just the fifth side to crack the 50 points barrier so early in the season (21 games).

The 2010/11 season proved that you do not necessarily have to post an excellent record away from home to finish top of the table with Manchester United winning five, drawing ten and losing four of their games on the road but winning 18 and drawing one at Old Trafford and one factor not often discussed when assessing City's season to date has been the fact with the exception of Arsenal they have already travelled to the nearest rivals, navigating trips to White Hart Lane, Old Trafford, Anfield and Stamford Bridge, taking eight out of a possible 12 points in the process.

Holding a three point lead not only sees City in a strong position heading to the two-thirds mark of the season, but, in theory at least, they have already played potentially their most difficult games and with the rest of the top four (starting with Tottenham this Sunday) all having to visit them City really do hold their fortunes in their own hands.

Not only has City posted a 100% record to date, they have to be behind at half time or even trail in a game at home and have steadily built themselves a commanding presence and authority, which in truth has yet to see them truly threatened at The Etihad Stadium.

Of course, it is far too early in the season to anoint them anything like Champions-elect, but there are some solid foundations in place at the moment, built upon their dominating home form that will certainly take some beating judging by the evidence so far.

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