It now seems to be accepted fact that November is always a bogey month for Arsenal.
A calamitous November last season is still fresh in the memory. In the League we started with a drab 1-1 with the N17 miscreants. This was followed by a 2-1 away defeat to the Baggies (they had 1 shot on target); Le Coq was injured early on and Arteta, his replacement, put the ball in his own net before being replaced himself. Santi missed a penalty after some spot-tampering by Olsson. What could go wrong, did go wrong.
The final League game of November 2015 was a 1-1 draw with Norwich in which Santi was injured early in the 2nd half but played the whole game for some strange reason (causing him to miss most of the season) and Alexis was withdrawn with a hamstring after being shoved into a camera dug-out!
In the Champions League, the month had started with a 5-1 battering from Bayern with the only consolation, a 3-0 win over a poor Zagreb side.
On the basis of that evidence, it certainly seems as though November is cursed for us, but I wondered just how bad it had been over the past 10 years, so decided to take a gander.
The snapshot below shows both Prem and CL games won, lost and drawn and also details of any fixtures played against our next two League opponents. The bottom row shows our win, draw and loss percentages over the last 10 Novembers.
Arsene Wenger’s overall percentages are 57.5% wins, 23.2% draws and 19.3% losses. (Based on 1,136 total games including 653 victories, 264 draws and 219 defeats)
It immediately becomes clear that, in the League particularly, there is an 18% increase in defeats compared to the average. That is huge. In the Champions League the defeat percentage is about average and an increase in draws maybe due to the nature of the CL group stages.
What could be the cause of such a large anomaly in the League?
An increase in snood and glove–wearing nambypambyism caused by colder weather? Doubtful.
Excrement happens? Maybe so, but why always in the same period of the season?
Has anyone got any theories?
On a more positive note, November has had some highlights and in some seasons has even been pretty good.
November 2008 saw us beating our November nemesis, the mancs, 2-1. This victory was easier than it sounds. Two goals by the FFBW, one a belter from a snake-like pass from Fabregas, were followed by the mancs getting a late consolation.
November 2012 included the second glorious 5-2 (in one calendar year) against the spuddies. Adebayor, both put them in the lead and then, in true secret agent style, revealed his Arsenal roots and deliberately got sent off a few minutes later.
November 2013 saw us win 3 of our 4 Prem games. A 2-0 win over Liverpool, including a stonker from Rambo, one of the highlights. We also won 2 out of 2 Champions League games that month; one of which, a 1-0 away win in Dortmund, is fondly remembered by two of our AAers and their Ford Focus.
November 2016 started with a fine, hard-fought CL win on Tuesday capped with a goal of rare beauty from our German maestro. Hopefully we can continue to build a head of steam with the NLD on Sunday and our visit to the Old Cowshed the following weekend.
The next two fixtures probably won’t make or break Arsenal’s season, but they could certainly go a long way to breaking the ‘bogey November’ idea and launch us forward into a successful winter.
We’ve recently broken the Swansea hoodoo, let’s continue with this theme and banish another skeleton from our closet.
Written by chas