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…
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…
|3 December||West Ham||Away||1-5||3|
|18 December||Man City||Away||0*|
|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|
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.
From the Arsenal History Society
“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.
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