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November: The month, the myth, the legend

It's about to get real, November is here.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Here we are then.  Page flipped over, the calendar has been re-hung on the wall and the big bold letters shout NOVEMBER right in your face.  Think the screaming man(?) in Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" video.  Yeah, it's that scary.

Of course scary is relative.  Scary for Chelsea equals something less than 50 percent in terms of win percentage -- as evidenced by the data that's kept by the excellent folk over at TheChels.  Here's a screenshot of the month-by-month table from the last 10 years.

Chelsea month-by-month 2004-2014 Oct

Technically, November's actually just the second worst month, losing out on the "top" spot to February by a hair.  May also comes close, but it tends to contain the most number of meaningless matches (e.g.: once a certain league position or top 4 qualification or title-win has been sown up) and the smallest sample size to boot, so it gets a pass.

What makes November the worst can be blamed on October and Carlo Ancelotti.  The latter is who gave it a name ("bad moment" in 2010-11) and the former is what makes it feel extra terrible.  October is far and away our best month, and that precipitous drop of 30 points in the win percentage column hits right in the gut, if not below the belt.

Last year, November began with a 2-0 loss at Newcastle, one that left Jose Mourinho bewildered and angry at his team's lackluster effort and his own eleven bad choices in the starting lineup.  A week later, we needed a fortunate penalty call to rescue a home draw against West Bromwich Albion.  At least nobody got fired this time.  While the month ended with three straight wins, the defense were in disarray and Jose was forced to rethink our entire approach.

Mourinho's struggles weren't exactly new -- he went into Novembers '05 and '06 with excellent records (though not quite unbeaten), only to lose away to Manchester United* and Tottenham Hotspur, respectively -- at least we weren't as much of a disaster as each of the previous three seasons.  Ancelotti kicked that off with one win in five league matches (the sprinkling of a couple home Champions League wins didn't ease the pain), Villas-Boas continued it with two wins in six in all competitions, and 2012 took everything to its logical conclusion with a sacking and zero wins from five total matches with two managers.

* United were actually the second in back-to-back losses to start the month after a 1-0 loss to Real Betis in the Champions League on November 1, 2005.

Those three months in particular were so bad that the overriding narrative has long-forgotten unbeaten Novembers in 2004, 2007, and 2009, two of which helped pave the way to Premier League titles and the other to a Champions League final appearance.  Good things come to those who tame and survive November.

So, perhaps some hope to cuddle with under the blankets as the sky turns darker, the clouds drop closer to the ground, and the Tower of Expectations reaches precarious heights.  Winter is coming...

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