For some unknown reason, Arsenal’s record in November is worse than any other month. Statistics show that the Gunners suffer a significant dip in form under Wenger at this time of the year every season and it has happened once again. Arsenal’s overall average points per Premier League game for November is 1.59 which compared to March (2.18 points per game) is very poor.
Below are the results of the six matches that Arsenal played in November. Arsene Wenger’s men played in three competitions, winning twice, drawing three times and losing once.
1 Nov: Ludogorets 2-3 Arsenal – Champions League
This should have been Arsenal’s easiest fixture of the month but when have Arsenal ever made things easy for themselves? Within 15 minutes, Arsenal were 2-0 down to Ludogorets, a side they had thrashed 6-0 at the Emirates in October. Arsenal managed to get the match back on level terms before half-time thanks to goals from Xhaka and Giroud. Although Arsenal had chances in the second half, the match was heading for a draw until a moment of brilliance from Mesut Ozil in the 87th minute. The German playmaker ran through on goal, chipped the keeper and cut inside two defenders before slotting in from close range for a dramatic winner. Arsenal registered a narrow victory here but if the match had been against stronger opposition they would not have been able to comeback so easily.
6 Nov: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham – Premier League
The North London Derby. What bigger motivation do Arsenal need to get a win? The Gunners were at the Emirates but they were unable to beat their rivals, making Mauricio Pochettino the first ever Tottenham manager to remain unbeaten in his first five top-flight north London derbies. Moussa Dembele was Tottenham’s best player, preventing Ozil from having as much impact as he would have liked. Arsenal did not play their best football. They had 15 shots and only two of them were on target. Dropping two points at home was disappointing for a side that had been doing so well.
19 Nov: Man Utd 1-1 Arsenal – Premier League
There is no two ways about it, Arsenal were terrible against Manchester United and they deserved to lose. Olivier Giroud’s 89th-minute header, the first shot on target for his team, spared Arsenal’s blushes. Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since September 2006. The wait goes on.
23 Nov: Arsenal 2-2 PSG – Champions League
The Gunners had to win this game to give them the best chance of finishing top of Group A. Despite falling behind in the 18th minute to a Cavani goal, Arsenal did not crumble and went in 1-1 at the break thanks to a penalty scored by Giroud. Arsenal took the lead on the hour after a ball into the penalty area rebounded off Marco Verratti and flew in. PSG created plenty of chances and it is fair to say that their equaliser 13 minutes before the end was fully deserved. It was Lucas’ header but Iwobi got the final touch to make it 2-2 and he was clearly devastated. As long as PSG win their final group game against Ludogorets, they will qualify top of the group and Arsenal will finish second yet again.
27 Nov: Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth – Premier League
The scoreline suggests that Arsenal won the match comfortably but this was not the case. In their last Premier League game of November, they finally got a win against a very good Bournemouth side. Arsenal looked shaky at times against Bournemouth and even though they had the most possession (52%), they were not at their best. Bournemouth had three shots on target and performed very well against Arsenal. Both Smith and Afobe had chances for Bournemouth and if they had scored, it would have really unsettled Arsenal. In the end, Arsenal came out on top thanks to two goals from Alexis and one from Walcott.
30 Nov: Arsenal 0-2 Southampton – EFL Cup
Arsene Wenger had no intention of even trying to win this match. The manager made 10 changes to the side that beat Bournemouth and Arsenal were disjointed and off the pace as a result. Southampton were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Clasie and Bertrand after a convincing display. Arsenal played better in the second half but not enough to trouble the Saints who progressed to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup for the first time since 1987. Wenger has never won this competition during his 20-year reign at Arsenal. It might be viewed as an insignificant trophy but if Wenger had assembled a better squad, there is no reason why Arsenal could not have gone on to win it and eased some of the pressure off their title challenge.
Until the EFL Cup defeat against Southampton, Arsenal were on a 19-game unbeaten run in all competitions. It’s just typical that the final game on the final day of November would end in defeat.
Hector Bellerin was injured during the North London Derby and Arsenal have struggled without him. Fortunately, he should be returning sooner than expected which is a huge relief for the Gunners.
Since Arsenal’s game against Ludogorets in October, Santi Cazorla has been out with an Achilles tendon injury. Arsenal’s midfield has not looked the same since Cazorla’s injury and Wenger is still trying to find his best midfield combination in Cazorla’s absence. Wenger hopes that the 31-year-old will be back in time for a hectic festive schedule but this seems very unlikely with no date set for the Spaniard’s return.
Right-back is a bit of a problem position for Wenger and this was not helped when Mathieu Debuchy, making his first start for the club since 2015, went off injured in the 16th minute against Bournemouth to be replaced by Gabriel. The Brazilian centre-half looked awkward and uncomfortable in the role but thankfully Arsenal still won the match.
Olivier Giroud missed the EFL Cup defeat against Southampton with a groin injury but is expected to return against West Ham.
Putting things into perspective, Arsenal’s November could have been a lot worse. They only lost one match out of six in all competitions, they have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League and they are still in the race for the Premier League title. The loss of momentum is the last thing Arsenal need as they approach a very busy festive period when they play four games in 12 days. Having said that, with November out of the way, Arsenal should be able to kick on with their season. A trip to the London Stadium on Saturday as they face West Ham provides them with the perfect opportunity to get December off to a successful start.
Featured Image Credit: Julian Osley