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Weekend Premier League predictions

Premier League

Benitez: Home form down to opponents

Rafa Benitez has said Chelsea's poor home form is down to "football reasons" and deep opposition defending, rather than anything to do with the perceived negativity of the fans.

• Blog: Chelsea strike right note

Benitez's side have only won two of their six home games since the Spaniard took over, while claiming victory in six of seven away matches.

They have also lost more times at home - to QPR and Stoke City - than they have on their travels. By contrast, Chelsea have not lost away from Stamford Bridge since Benitez's first game on the road - a 3-1 defeat to West Ham.

Such a record has exacerbated a restless atmosphere at Chelsea over Benitez's initial appointment, but the former Liverpool boss denied it had a negative effect on games when they were not winning early.

"I think that we are, as you say, doing well away," he said. "At home, the other teams play deep and you have less space. We're still creating chances, but we have to be more clinical. We need to take our chances and, if we do, it'll be totally different.

"Teams will have to be more open and we'll have more space. But it's down to football reasons. The other teams are deep and waiting. When you play away and you have space, the players we have can make a big difference. Against 11 players behind the ball, you have to find the space, so you have to practise and prepare.

"We have confidence we can do well. We did against Aston Villa and Nordsjaelland. But we have to improve and learn how to play these games against 11 behind the ball."


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