Wenger is in­sist­ing tough Novem­ber will be cru­cial time

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International -

BY CRAIG HOPE/ There is some­thing about Novem­ber that makes Arsene Wenger ner­vous. Rather than ac­cept the plau­dits as Ar­se­nal sat mo­men­tar­ily top at the week­end, he was a lit­tle guarded, in­stead point­ing to the po­ten­tial pit­falls of a month which has been both costly and cruel in re­cent years.

Here is why. Twelve months ago they had won five on the spin in the Pre­mier League be­fore a Novem­ber which opened with a 5-1 drub­bing at Bay­ern Mu­nich and was fol­lowed by a for­tu­nate home draw against Spurs, de­feat at West Brom and a draw away to Nor­wich. A month which had started with talk of the ti­tle ended with calls for the French­man to go.

Go back two years, even. And, af­ter back-to-back de­feats to Swansea and Manch­ester United, one ban­ner in­side the Emi­rates Sta­dium read: ‘Enough is enough. Wenger out’.

Three years ago? Again, a 1-0 de­feat at Old Traf­ford in which the only goal was scored by his for­mer cap­tain and striker Robin van Per­sie.

Let’s go back to 2012, this one was par­tic­u­larly nasty. On Novem­ber 3, again at Old Traf­ford, Ar­se­nal lost 2-1. Who scored the opener in his first ap­pear­ance against his old club? Yes, Van Per­sie. Worst of all, how­ever, was the ‘vile and un­funny abuse’ - as Sports­mail put it - to which Wenger was sub­ject through­out the game. They went on to drop six more points with draws against Ful­ham, As­ton Villa and Ev­er­ton.

There are more. Con­sec­u­tive home de­feats to New­cas­tle and Spurs in 2010 again saw Wenger ridiculed. So when, as Oc­to­ber closes, it is put to him that his team are look­ing bet­ter than ever, he is right to sound cau­tion. “I be­lieve we are more ma­ture than in pre­vi­ous sea­sons.”

/REUTERS

Ar­se­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger looks on at a soldier dur­ing the re­mem­brance day.

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