A coronavirus-plagued Premier League season has ripped up the rule book in regard to home and away form, and former top-flight goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has identified the reason why.
It's been a funny old season, hasn't it?
We're now eight games deep into the Premier League campaign and, usually by this point, the table begins to take shape.
However, the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United are some distance from the top six, with Leicester City topping the table - a hint of deja vu for the latter, anyone?
Nevertheless, this isn't a stereotypically normal season, by any stretch of the imagination, and former Wigan and Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland provides a theory of why some teams are failing to reach their full potential.
"The crowd situation comes back into it, that could be why teams aren't firing on all cylinders," Kirkland explained to GiveMeSport. "When you do start sloppy or the intensity isn't there, that's when the crowd lift you.
"If you look at all the games that are being played now, it's nowhere near the same intensity or standard - and it's not going to be."
The concept of a home advantage is certainly something that has been screwed up and thrown out the window for the 2020/21 season. On average, victories at home are down by 15% in comparison to last season, which really demonstrates the importance of fan presence.
Rather poignantly, Kirkland later added: "Fans make football, it's as simple as that."
As we recently entered November, there are currently five Premier League sides who are yet to secure a victory at their stomping grounds, with one of those sides being Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United.
While Liverpool's home record is seemingly unaffected, as they top the table for home form, their Mancunian neighbours have been less fortunate.
At the beginning of the month, United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's spot kick, and Solskjaer ultimately blamed the loss on an empty Old Trafford.
"Home and away form is out the window really with no fans in the stadium. You can't really look at that, just look at the stats. It doesn’t mean too much, we need to get points on the board."
Unfortunately for United, it could be some time yet until the greatly-anticipated return of fans to stadiums across the country.
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