Ranking the Top 10 Fortresses in European Football This Season
City's 4-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion summed up why they've been challenging at the top this season—they are an unbelievably dominant home team.
Home form is key to any team's success, especially now in the business end of the season, or the "money time" as Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger might say.
The 10 teams in this article seem to know that better than anyone this season, and—to quote a football cliché—have made their stadia fortresses throughout their campaign so far.
Ranked primarily on the teams' current unbeaten league run at home—and in some cases, their league's UEFA Coefficient—here are the top 10 fortresses in top-flight European football this season.
10. Türk Telekom Arena, Galatasaray S.K.
Since moving into the 52,000 all-seater Turk Telecom Arena in January 2011, Galatasaray have made their new stadium a complete fortress.
As you can see in the video, the vociferous home backing (officially the loudest in the world) has made Cimbom (as they're known in Turkey) a completely dominant force at home—storming their way to the top of the Süper Lig, nine points clear of second place with a home goal difference of plus-24.
Unbeaten Home Run: 13 Matches, Won 12, Drawn 1 (17 Played)
9. NSC Olimpiyskiy, FC Dynamo Kyiv
The recently renovated NSC Olimpiyskiy (Olympic National Sports Complex)—home of Dynamo Kiev—is where the Euro 2012 Final will take place.
And whatever teams make it there—Spain? Germany? Netherlands? England!?—will surely be looking to Dynamo for tips on how to make it their own fortress, with the Bilo-Syni (White-Blues, as Dynamo are called) having won 85 percent of their home matches this season.
It's that kind of form—along with former Chelsea flop and AC Milan hero Andriy Shevchenko, as well as rising star Andriy Yarmolenko—which has Dynamo go level on points at the top of the table with Shaktar Donetsk.
Unbeaten Home Run: 13 Matches, Won 11, Drawn 2 (13 Played)
8. Estádio Do Dragão, FC Porto
FC Porto are unbeaten at home this season in Liga Sagres, having not lost a single league game at the Estádio Do Dragão in 2011-12.
They also have the best home goal difference in the league with a GD of plus-28, and that—along with the performance of star players such as Hulk, James Rodriguez and João Moutinho—has seen the Dragões top the table, four points clear of second-placed Benfica.
Unbeaten Home Run: 13 Matches, Won 11, Drawn 2 (13 Played)
7. Celtic Park, Celtic FC
Whilst Celtic have clearly profited from the demise of Rangers, their home form was nonetheless key in securing their first SPL title in four years.
The Hoops have lost just once in 16 games at Celtic Park this season, with a whopping home goal difference of plus-26.
Unbeaten Home Run: 15 Matches, Won 14, Drawn 1 (16 Played)
6. AWD-Arena, Hannover 96
If you hadn't read this slide, you'd probably be surprised to know it's actually Hannover 96.
The team to watch in 2012 and beyond, Die Roten are slowly finding the recipe for success, and, had they not such poor away form, they would've easily been challenging for a UEFA Champions League place.
Look out for former Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf (P15, G10, A3, this season) and young star Lars Stindl next season.
Unbeaten Home Run: 15 Matches, Won 9, Drawn 6 (15 Played)
5. AFAS Stadion, AZ Alkmaar
Opposition teams find it almost impossible to score at the AFAS Stadion, with AZ conceding just 0.6 goals per game on average at home—whilst they also find it hard to stop the hosts finding the net, with Jozy Altidore having scored the majority of his 13 league goals at home this season.
Unbeaten Home Run: 15 Matches, Won 11, Drawn 4 (15 Played)
4. Juventus Stadium, Juventus
Since moving into the very originally-named Juventus Stadium, Juventus have not lost a single home game in Serie A—one of the main reasons why they're currently at the top, and unbeaten home and away this season.
They've taken more points at home than any other team in the league, and whilst they haven't the most exciting team to watch this season, they have defeated all the big boys who've come to play on their patch—AC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli, AS Roma, Udinese and Lazio have all lost away to the Bianconeri this term.
Unbeaten Home Run: 16 Matches, Won 11, Drawn 5 (16 Played)
3. Şükrü Saracoğlu, Fenerbahçe S.K.
If it wasn't for their form at the Şükrü Saracoğlu, Fenerbahçe would have been struggling for a place in the Europa League next season, let alone solidifying their place in next season's Champions League.
Sarı Kanaryalar (The Yellow Canaries) have lost six and drawn four away from home, and they had recently embarked on a four-game losing streak on their travels.
However, they've taken 45 points at home, more than any other team in the Süper Lig, with a goal difference of plus-27, again, the best in the league at home. If it wasn't for that kind of Barca-esque home form, who knows where they'd be right now?
Unbeaten Home Run: 17 Matches, Won 13, Drawn 4 (17 Played)
2. Camp Nou, FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona are just four points behind Real Madrid in La Liga now, thanks in no small part to their form at home this season.
At the Camp Nou, Barca have scored a phenomenal 64 goals in the league and conceded just eight, with a staggering goal difference of plus-56.
In comparison, Madrid's goal difference at home is plus-43, with the table toppers still yet to play Barca away.
La Blaugrana's continued dominance at the Camp Nou could see them snatch the title from Los Merengues come the end of the season.
Unbeaten Home Run: 16 Matches, Won 15, Drawn 1 (16 Played)
1. Etihad Stadium, Manchester City
Right now, Manchester City are the best home team in Europe—in the high-pressure matches, the Etihad Stadium is one place where they simply don't lose.
They've scored 51 goals at home this term and conceded just 10, with a goal difference of plus-41.
City looked well placed to beat Manchester United at home and cut the gap down to just two points at least.
And if they do end up winning the Premier League this season, it will be down to just one reason—the Etihad fortress.
Unbeaten Home Run: 17 Matches, Won 16, Drawn 1 (Played 17)