When he met with the press on Thursday morning, Arsene Wenger said that Arsenal could ‘do better than we have done historically’ in November, so what does that even mean?
Wenger told reporters, “From our recent history we have shown that even when we were down or when we were tested mentally, we had the right response and that mental aspect will of course be very important.
“It’s exciting because we have an opportunity to show that we are ready for a challenge like [improving our November form] and do better than we have done historically. I’m sure that this team can face the history.”
By my count, Arsenal’s November record for 2010-2015 is
- Won 15
- Lost 12
- Drawn 7
- Injuries/illness incidents: 46
Let’s break that down:
Last November, Arsenal lost at West Brom, drew at home with Spurs, and got spanked 5-1 at Bayern Munich. We won one game that month – a home tie against Dinamo Zagreb.
That month we also lost Mikel Arteta to calf problem, Laurent Koscielny to a thigh, Kieran Gibbs (calf), Santi Cazorla (knee) Alexis Sanchez (hamstring), and Laurent Koscielny (thigh again).
November 2014 was slightly better in that we managed to win two games – Borussia Dortmund and Burnley at home. But that was the month we blew a three-goal lead against Anderlecht and lost to United at home while also losing to Swansea away.
Injuries that month included Jack Wilshere (illness then ankle), Mikel Arteta (hamstring then calf), Danny Welbeck (hamstring), Wojciech Szczesny (hip), Abou Diaby (calf), Yaya Sanogo (calf), Kieran Gibbs (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), and Nacho Monreal (knee).
But it wasn’t always like this in November. But mostly it has been, for the last few years anyway.
In 2013 we managed to beat Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Southampton, Marseille and Cardiff. We lost just one game that month – the usual against United.
Injuries included Kieran Gibbs (calf then illness), Per Mertesacker (illness), Thomas Vermaelen (calf), Tomas Rosicky (illness), Wojciech Szczesny (ankle), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (shin), and Ryo Miyaichi (hamstring).
2012 again saw us lose just one game in November, in a month that included the 5-2 win over Spurs and a win over Montpellier. We also drew with Aston Villa, Fulham and Schalke. The one defeat? United. Obviously.
The crocks included Aaron Ramsey (groin), Theo Walcott (illness then thigh then shoulder then ankle), Mikel Arteta (thigh), Olivier Giroud (hamstring), Andre Santos (abdominal strain), Lukas Podolski (illness), Bacary Sagna (ankle) and Laurent Koscielny (thigh).
2011 saw a decent November. There weren’t many big games and we lost the only one, this time to Manchester City. We didn’t lose to United in November 2011, but that’s because we didn’t play them. We’d already lost 8-2 back in August, and we were still feeling that three months later.
Marouane Chamakh (knee), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle), Carl Jenkinson (back), Tomas Rosicky (thigh) and Abou Diaby (hamstring) all struggled.
Defeats at Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk and at home to Tottenham and Newcastle made this a sucky month. We beat Wigan, Villa, Everton, and Wolves, but seriously -we lost to Tottenham at home. We didn’t lose to United this month either, because we didn’t play them, obviously. We did, however, lose to them less than two weeks after the end of the month. It’s good to be consistent, eh?
Injuries? Jack Wilshere (back), Gael Clichy (back), Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Eboue (MCL Knee) all went down with Samir Nasri picking up a knee injury one day after November ended.
What does that mean?
Basically, in order to ‘do better’ Arsenal have to beat United, beat Tottenham and not do anything monumentally stupid against Bournemouth, Southampton or PSG.
Can they do it?
Can Arsenal beat United? Yes
Can Arsenal beat Spurs? Yes
Can Arsenal avoid doing something monumentally stupid? Urmmmm….