Sweet November? – Arsenal

I hate sad endings. Two movies I have sworn never to watch again are Million Dollar Baby and Sweet November. Don’t get me wrong; they are fantastic movies. Great acting, great actors, great storyline but they ended so sadly; it took me days to recover. So basically what I do in situations like these is I create my endings. I agree with people who say we have not used more than 10% of our brains yet, I think the fact that I have found a mechanism for creating an ending to any situation for myself means I use 11%.

I’ll give you an example. Recently I had car issues so I either call an Uber to work or I take a bus. On a certain day, I took a bus and paid the driver N1,000 which was 90% more than the original fare. I felt sad for a few seconds and then rather than let the situation define my mood for the rest of the day, I lied to my head that I took a cab and the fare was fair. Yea, I know it’s stupid, but it helps me get along. So how exactly did I get to this illustration? Movies and sad endings…. Ideally, I should delete all of this and rewrite some more serious stuff about how Arsene Wenger should apply some “Conte Lotion” to his tactics and attempt three at the back against Man United, but I think I would leave it there. What is the point of a blog if one cannot be honest?

Anyways, what brought me to all this thinking was Sweet November? Apparently, I just learnt as an Arsenal fan we have lost the right to use those words together. “Sweet” and “November” as our history over the last decade has shown that there can be nothing more ironical. This season seems to have done nothing to disprove the myth as thus far our fixture list has proven kind until November showed up. A triple header against Spurs, Man United and PSG would worry any club. Eddie Howe has vastly improved Bournemouth, and they would be no push overs, and we end the month with Southampton in the EFL cup. Didn’t they dump us out of the competition last year? And don’t we always struggle against them recently? Thank you November, Thank you very much.

Saturday doesn’t bode well on paper. In the premier league at least, Man United has some mental hold over us. In the worst of times, they beat us. Even when they were on a points donation spree under David Moyes and LVG we still managed to drop points against them at Old Trafford. This year is no different as their constellation has refused even to shine brighter than a candle in the wind under their cheque book loving manager. A man Wenger has never defeated in the premier league. Why couldn’t we just play them during Christmas so any unfortunate result can quickly be forgotten with the seasons merry. I did some digging to see if there was really anything to this November form. See what I found

Season Points Earned Possible Points
2015-2016 5 9
2014-2015 6 12
2013-2014 9 12
2012-2013 6 12
2011-2012 6 9
2010-2011 9 15
2009-2010 3 9
2008-2009 6 15
2007-2008 7 9
2006-2007 4 15
  61 117

Overall, in the last decade, we have earned only 52% of possible points in the month of November. Direct analysis paints a bad picture. How this plays out for other title winning sides would be a good research especially given every club usually at some point in suffers some deep in form.  Also, has November historically been the worst month for Arsenal? I think that would also make for an excellent study.

I’m sorry if I am not particularly optimistic especially as “on paper” we have the better team and are in better form but with United and Mourinho, paper doesn’t count for much. I think the team this season has shown us they have mental capacity and drive to compete and chase matches. Ludogorets away, Burnley and Sunderland away coupled with the fact that we have remained unbeaten since the opening day mishap is an indication of how far we have come. Hopefully, all of this translates into a much needed three points against Man United on Saturday.

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