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We all know November is Arsenal’s worst month. But what about December?

By Tony Attwood

Every football journalist and most of the bloggettas have told us throughout November that ARSENAL ALWAYS DO BADLY IN NOVEMBER.   I wrote it in capitals just in case you hadn’t caught it before.  After all it must be very important to know this because they have told us over and over and over and…

But do you know what Chelsea’s worst month is?  After all they must have one.  Or Tottenham’s?  Or Man U’s?  (Actually that’s an easy one, its the month with Mourinho in it).

My point is that of course, once again, Arsenal is singled out for a negative story.  And it was the pondering upon this that made me contemplate the fact that it is a little strange that these same learned gents (and the occasional lady) of the national media also hasn’t been telling you how well or badly Arsenal do in December.

I mean, why just pick out November, the worst month?  Surely it is not just because Arsenal do badly is it?  No, because that would imply some sort of bias!  That would suggest some sort of joy at knocking Arsenal and we couldn’t accuse the media of that could we?

Certainly the negativitiy is carrying on as the Independent this morning runs the headline…

  • Wenger struggling to find Arsenal balance without Cazorla

which is quite a funny headline after beating the club we’ve all helped financially by 5-1 with a lovely combined game from Coquelin and Xhaka

Well, since we can’t actually change what the perfidious journalists do, I thought I would run the story that I can guarantee no journalist or bloggetta will actually run.  An analysis of how we normally do in December.  And so I’ve been plodding through the results to create a list of Arsenal’s figures for December over the last 10 years.

Because the number of league games played varies between four and seven in different Decembers I’ve included the average points per game in each December in the penultimate column.  The final column compares the ten years, “1” being the best December, “10” being the least best December.

Indeed if we start with this final column, through it you can see that December last year was the best December across the 10 year spell.  In fact four of the best five Decembers in the last ten years occurred in the last five years.  Put another way, overall our Decembers have been improving year on year.

Now this is where some will shout, “you can prove anything with statistics”, and I would reply that apart from the fact that is obviously untrue, this is a very simple analysis.  And indeed if you really can’t prove anything with statistics, why were stats used to calculate the results in November?

But enough of this tittle-tattle.  Here’s December across the last ten years…

Year Pld Wins Draws Defeats Points Av pts Pos
2015 5 4 0 1 13 2.6 1
2014 5 3 1 1 10 2.0 6=
2013 5 3 2 1 11 2.2 4
2012 5 4 0 1 12 2.4 3
2011 6 4 1 1 13 2.17 5
2010 4 2 1 1 7 1.75 10
2009 6 5 0 1 15 2.5 2
2008 5 2 3 0 9 1.8 9
2007 6 3 2 1 11 1.83 8
2006 7 4 2 1 14 2.0 6=
Total 55 34 12 9 114 2.07

So this is suggesting that just as November was always doomed to be a bad month, December can be seen on the forecasts to be a fairly decent month.  Yes there will be a defeat, because there is always a defeat (except in 2008 when we had two wins and three draws), but by and large the results are not only good – they are improving.

Over the past ten Decembers we have played 55 games, winning 34, drawing 12, losing 9.   That gives us a total of 114 points, an average of 2.07 per game.  So if we have an average December we should get 10 points out of 15.

But we’ve got above this average in four of the past five years, which is encouraging.  Arsenal are getting better year on year.

However let us take your average December total of 10 points from five games, and see how we might achieve them this season…

 

Date Opposition Venue Score Points
3 December West Ham Away 1-5 3
10 December Stoke Home 3
13 December Everton Away 1
18 December Man City Away 0*
26 December WBA Home 3
Total   5 games   10 points

*It will be important at this point for headline writers to proclaim an Arsenal crisis.

But supposing we did as well as our best year in December, over the past 10 years.  That would make it 13 points instead of 10, which means beating Everton and drawing with Man City as well as taking the other victories.

Of course there are no guarantees, and we might have our worst year.  Across the last ten seasons that record is held by 2010 when we got 1.75 points per game.which would be nine points from five games.  Either three wins and two defeats or two wins and three draws.

However let’s move on to a broader picture.  Just how many points per game are needed to win the league?

Season Team Games Winning Points Pts per game
2016/17 Chelsea 14 34 2.42
2016/17 Arsenal 14 31 2.21
2015/16 38 81 2.13
2014/15 38 87 2.29
2013/14 38 86 2.26
2012/13 38 89 2.34
2011/12 38 89 2.34
2010/11 38 80 2.11
2009/10 38 86 2.26
2008/09 38 90 2.36
2007/08 38 87 2.29
2006/07 38 89 2.34

The average number of points per game to win the league varies between 2.11 and 2.36.  Chelsea as we can see are ahead of every league winner in the last ten years at the moment and if they carry on like this are sure to win the league.   Arsenal’s form this season which has taken them into second place would have been good enough if maintained throughout the season to have won the league in 2016, and 2011.

But (in case you have not been told, may I remind you that) November is Arsenal’s worst month, so we ought to be able to improve a bit on the current 2.21 average over the remaining 63% of the season.   (You may have noted in an earlier article that Karren Brady fixed the figures relating to the number of arrests at stadia by claiming we were half way through the season already – certainly with her example you can prove everything you want with false statistics).

Obviously these are all speculations and mathematical games.  But then, so was all the chit chat about November.   And just in case you are wondering we played three league games in November this year, won 1, drew 2 and lost 0.  Five points out of three games – an average of 1.67 points per game.

In going back to one of my opening points: it would be nice to know which is Chelsea’s worst month of the season.  But surprisingly despite a fair old search on the internet I couldn’t find it.  10,000 sites tell us which is Arsenal’s worst month, and not one tells us the same about Chelsea.

Odd that.


 

From the Arsenal History Society  

The books:

“Making the Arsenal” and “Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed history” are available both via Kindle and in paperback.  For the Kindle editions please go straight to the Kindle shop, for paperback editions and more information about the books please click here.


 

Tales from Untold 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

 

It looks like the squad is growing

Attending a football match doesn’t make them experts anymore than standing in a garage makes them mechanics.

Just how much impact did the stadium have in Arsenal’s 5-1 win on Saturday?

What exactly is the finance scandal surrounding Mourinho and C Ronaldo?

State Aid United – Arsenal 1-5: Oh what a birthday gift

WHU v Arsenal. The teams, the tactics, the injuries, the cost.

 

 

20 comments to We all know November is Arsenal’s worst month. But what about December?

  • Chris

    The fact that we are steadily getting better in december is interesting.
    Now is that not the proof that our team is becoming ‘larger’ and we are less reliant on the same players, which means that when the dip in form or injuries hit, we’ve got a next man up ?

  • John

    This is very educative. Thumps Up

  • Nonny

    Kudos for your analysis Tony and we all know that there is a media bias against us. Like you rightly said in an earlier post, imagine Arsenal were the ones that implored against Bournemouth, we would probably never hear the end of it.

    Just for you to correct some errors in your data;
    2015: PL5 W4 L1 = 12 points unless you mean D1 instead of L1
    2013: PL5 W3 D2 L1 = 6 games unless you mean PL6

  • Thanks Nonny. No hard how I try with these wretched figures I seem to screw up. And this time I took it slowly and with a calculator.

    I am planning to do the same with each month for the rest of the year, but I think I am going to write it, check it, check it again, leave it a day, check it, throw it up in the air, check it and then hand it over to someone else.

    Don’t know why I can’t add up any more. couldn’t be old age could it?

  • BEN

    @Tony Attwood
    You are very much on point my brother. Don’t worry our parents parts have not crossed.The family we share is ARSENAL. I discussed this with some of my friends, some of them arsenal fans when the notion of November being arsenals worst month was being bandied by every Tom,dick and harry last month.My questions were 1, why were we begin told of the worst month only, what about our best month. 2 Why were they not telling us of other clubs worst months as well . The truth is, the British media has an agenda to run Arsenal down. That’s why they mostly write negative things about Arsenal. When man u won a game with the last kick of the game, the news was that they were resilient and played till the last minute, they never gave up, positive. When arsenal won the same time. The news was a wasteful Arsenal lucky to win with the last kick,negative. Man u wasted more chances in there own game than our boys did in ours. Agenda Agenda Agenda

  • BEN

    My pain is that some of our fans have not realized this. They still form there opinion based on these craps they read or hear them say as pundits. Someone said recently that Sanchez is not world class. Ozil in Madrid was called world class, but the jury is still out on the improved Ozil in Arsenal, pathetic

  • BEN

    Notice how everyday there’s an article on Sanchez and Ozil’s contract except that they are always saying the same thing,negative .Are they the only players in contract negotiations with there club, just asking

  • austinpaul

    Beutiful analysis Tony, great work , I guess dats why UA is my breakfast tonic! Now to d point, I haven’t bin able to fathom Why all dis negative nd biased reporting, officiating et al against D. Arsenal on d internet nd d media;I wish someone can enlighten me! Its so frustrating I mean d officiating aspect to cee arsenal player punished for an offence nd d opponent let off for similar infrigment; as for d media its d most confussing nd baffling; wat hve we done against dis organisations to warrant dis level of undisguised bias nd utter dislike,it beats my imagination; no day one doesn’t read a negative story about d arsenal ,if we do well sometin negative will b harped on , if below par, ahhhhh we are in for abject review for weeks on end its so disgusting! Tanks to UA for all d defending, kudos to U Tony nd all D crew membas at d UNTOLD ARSENAL! Shalom!!!

  • Jerry

    Excellent work Tony! I hope you keep this up every month to highlight the media hypocrisy.

    OT: want to congratulate former Gunner Lukas Podolski on topping the German pop charts with his new song! We’re putting together an Arsenal band- with Cech on the drums and Sanchez on the piano.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Great article posting and my great commendation for it.

    In as much as the media has slated Arsenal as a penerial loser in PL football season’s campaign in the month of November every season for some past years, Arsenal have in this season’s month of November disputed that slander as they’ve ended their last November campaign with a percentage of 55% success in 3 PL applications but in all 6 applications which they were involved in, they had a percentage of 52% all these are by my own ratings.

    Just as it was in the last month of November, Arsenal are again going to be involved in 6 all applications in this month of December. And I’ve found it irrevocably to give my guarantees that Arsenal will have a remarkable success in their remaining 5 outings ahead haven already had one big success already in 1 application out of the six.

    I am in total support of Le Prof’s decision to this night play all or nearly all his 1st team starters at the ST Jacob–Park against FC Basel in a Ucl match day no6. And in view of my anticipated big victory by Arsenal over FC Basel, I want Le Prof to start Iwobi as a DM alongside Xhaka at the base of Gunners midfield in this match. I say this because I’ve noticed Iwobi can efficiently tackle and intercept the opponent player. I saw him doing this job very well in out last away PL game against the West Hammers during the brief time he came on towards the end of the match.

    It’s a gamble am asking Le Prof to take. And this is the sort of match in which Arsenal are not under any serious pressure for them not to take this gamble. If Le Prof does agree with me to take this gamble by starting Iwobi as DM in this Basel match, he won’t regret doing so. I can assure him it will work very productively for us beyond our imaginations. For my vision doesn’t decisive me.

    My starts:
    Ospina
    Paulista Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
    Iwobi Xhaka
    Walcott Ozil Oxchambo
    Sanchez.

    My bench:
    Cech Niles Holding Gibbs Elneny Ramsey Giroud.

  • Polo

    This website has all the past match results.
    http://stats.football.co.uk/results_fixtures/1997_1998/arsenal/index.shtml

    Going through each Arsenal match results in all competition and count the number of win, lost, or draw for each match in each month since AW took charge, Arsenal overall do lose more matches in November than any other months.

    Here is a website showing the big teams month performance over 10 years.

    http://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/revealed-what-are-premier-league-clubs-best-and-worst-months

  • Dammy

    Good read as always!

    469,000 google hits under “Arsenal worst month”
    46,800 hits for “Chelsea worst month”
    One Chelsea blogger reviewed the last 6 seasons showing they picked up 1.4 points per game.

    This led me to wonder how other clubs do in November and if it affects every club but I am sure I will struggle to find the articles.

  • Jerry

    @Polo,

    Thanks for that link from fourfourtwo. I hope history repeats itself based on that link!
    Chelsea and Arsenal go back and forth every month until the end of the season.

    We have a higher ppg average than Liverpool in every month remaining except March.

    We have a higher ppg average than City in every month remaining except January (tied).

    And well, Tottenham is Tottenham.

  • John L

    Thank you, Tony and all contributors.

    It is a shame that some fans swallow the diet provided by the media without ever questioning it. The point that even the occasional grudging praise always has negative overtones is especially valid. – eg “let’s see if Ozil can do this against Barcelona, where it really counts / or on a wet winter Wednesday night at Stoke” etc etc.

    The anti-Arsenal agenda is not a recent phenomenon. I first became aware of it during the 1970-1 Double campaign. The narrative then was that Arsenal were lucky, lacking in flair, boring to watch etc. would not win either the league or the FA Cup (of cours, we won both!). Liverpool were the media favourites at the time, though Man Utd and Spurs always had support regardless of their performances or results. For the rest, the temporary favours of the press were bestowed on whomever we happened to be playing against.

    The present day seems worse, only because of the huge growth in television coverage and the impact of other media, blogs etc. which give people a platform to spout any old rubbish. The underlying bias was always present. Tony’s historical references to Herbert Chapman and Tom Whittaker having encounters with reporters suggest that it dates back even from long before my time.

  • Nonny

    @Dammy Its just the media bias we’ve been talking about. Pick out Arsenal and slander them. It doesn’t matter if November is also the worst month for any other club. No analysis or comparison offered.

    @austinpaul
    The negativity comes from utter dislike for Wenger since he joined the club and the cleverness/progression he has brought to the club, making Arsenal a renowned club the world over through hard work and dedication.

    It’s the shame ‘Arsène Who?’ has rubbed on their faces that they’ve not been able to swallow and have been doing everything to bring him down these last 20 years.

    Fortunately, there is only one Arsène Wenger and there can never be another. Not now, not ever. And they can’t beat that

  • Robido

    Polo
    Thanks for that link. Its really good to find sites that have done some of the digging. It is of course up to us what conclusions and theories we form. Nice to see we have 12% more from this November than normal – for what it’s worth. I had come across the stats used by the Telegraph and that interesting Chelsea analysis: “Remember, remember, we’re shit in November” .

    Someone postulated it was how often we had Manu and Spurs, others have other ideas. The Chelsea chap observed they normally had champs league and league cup games. This could be a factor but there could be more. Total games and quality could combine. Gord was having a think about it from a stats point of view. The conclusions may be inconclusive.

    Of course cause or effect or coincidence in small sample sizes may just give us a bit of harmless banter (if we keep up our current December rate we will do rather well). There may be an explanation but some folk will take it out of context and try to prove stuff that true stats simply do not support (my dogs got four legs my cats got four legs – therefore my dogs a cat…).

  • Pat

    December – pretty good so far!

  • Nice article!
    Will accept 10points this month…already have three against state-aid-united.

  • Goonermikey

    Good stuff Tony.

    As you say, there are those who argue that you can prove anything with statistics. All I know is that it’s a lot easier t get to the truth with statistics than with unsubstantiated opinions and no statistics 🙂

  • frOOm en ski

    Good to read that!
    That makes a long time I think Arsenal is not respected enough, by journalists, referees, and people in general, unlike other big english clubs. There are lots of prejudices against Arsenal that too much people who peddle these.
    They think and,or want Arsenal to be weak, so referees seem used to not giving faults to Özil or Alexis for example. For a long time I thought I had this impression because I’m a supporter but now I think differently. It is so obvious in the medias. May all these contrary winds give the team the will to shut them up!