Form is temporary, class is permanent as the saying goes. However in football, it doesn't matter how strong your side is if they enter a blip period at a critical time of the season.
Right now you wouldn't class the month of November as a highly critical month of the season but it cannot be underestimated for importance. A bad run in November could see a decline take place as confidence hits an all time low ahead of Christmas and the demons set in place. Likewise a good batch of results can leave spirits high and encourage greater confidence of play. The coin is so thin between the two sides that make your teams season either a joyous or disappointing one.
I'll be taking you through each of the top four English leagues and looking at who's topping the form table, and who's struggling far beyond capabilities.
It's been a wonderful month for Steve Clarke that even last nights 3-1 defeat to Swansea could not truly dampen. The win for his West Brom side against Chelsea was the highlight of the month contributing to picking up a total of twelve points from five games. Elsewhere Man Utd and Man City both had decent months earning twelve and eleven points respectively to keep title hopes alive. Lower down the table Swansea and Norwich both stayed unbeaten with a record of P5, W2, D3 which will provide both sides with encouragement for the season ahead.
Sadly the last four weeks have provided little encouragement for Alan Pardew and his Newcastle side. Just one point from five games is a poor return from a club who excelled so much last season in such games. Losses to Swansea and West Ham at home will have been particularly disappointing for the fans. Also with a poor month, yet again, was QPR. There has been much change at the club with Harry Redknapp arriving midway through the month but that couldn't stop Rangers achieving just two points from their five league games.
It is usually about this time of year that a surprise package emerges, and during the month of November that surprise has been Millwall. The Lions have picked up sixteen points from a possible eighteen with excellent displays against the likes of Blackburn and Nottingham Forest, taking them to the dizzy heights of fifth. Gianfranco Zola's Watford side also ended the month unbeaten winning four of their six matches and drawing too to rise up the table.
Bottom of the form table however where Wolves who seem to have stagnated over November, failing to win and earning just a solitary point from six matches. Although they were unlucky, facing off against all the form teams of the league, they are fast dropping from promotion favourites to mid table mediocrity at best. Peterborough also picked up just the single point, though that was less surprising, whilst Sheffield Wednesday lost five of their six games to leave them in the bottom three, undoing all of their early season progress.
Karl Robinson has got his MK Dons playing winning football once again this month with wins over the likes of Tranmere's and Sheffield United amongst the four wins picked up, increasing their hopes of finishing in an automatic promotion spot. Meanwhile Brentford matched the Dons' achievement of thirteen points from five games following an excellent set of results over the course of the month, also including a win over Sheffied United. Doncaster will also be happy having won their last four games to elevate them to second in the table.
Following the departure of Michael Appleton, Portsmouth have had a torrid time of it with just one point from five games picked up. Their makeshift squad failed to pick up a win, despite facing lowly Bury and a Leyton Orient side that on paper they certainly could and perhaps should have beat. They weren't the only ones to struggle in League Two however, as Hartlepool's awful form continued - Only one more point earned - leaving them eight points adrift at the bottom of the table, much to the heartbreak of Jeff Stelling and other fans of the club.
The form side in League two this month has to be Southend who have embarked on a wonderful run of results winning four of their five games, drawing the other. Whilst you would have expected them to beat their opposition on paper, paper rarely comes in to play in the unpredictable lower leagues so thirteen points is a fantastic return. Meanwhile Northampton also had a reasonably strong November earning ten points from five games to push themselves up the table to tenth, just outside the play-off zone.
At the other end of the scale, Plymouth disappointed over the course of the month, going without victory for the entirety. Nevertheless it must be remembered that in all five matches they faced off against top half sides, so have managed to clear a tough run of games without dropping too far down the table. York wouldn't class their month as disastrous results wise, having lost only two games, but failure to win in four games has halted progress towards the play-off zone.
image: © alfonso jimenez