This week our statistician Josh James looks at Arsenal's Easter record.

This weekend's match with Manchester City will be the first time Arsenal have ever played a home fixture on Easter Sunday, and only their fifth overall on the date.

Arsenal's first Easter Sunday game was in 2000 (a 3-2 win at Watford), and that was followed by a draw (2004) and two defeats (2008 and 2011).

The other three days of the Easter holiday however (Good Friday to Easter Monday inclusive) have regularly staged matches throughout history – the Gunners have played 121 Easter fixtures (all league) since the war, winning 59 (48.8 per cent). That is slightly up on Arsenal's overall win rate in the league for the corresponding timespan (46.7 per cent). There have also been 35 draws and 27 defeats.

Arsenal have played on all but ten of the 65 Easter Saturdays since the war, while there have been 46 Easter Monday games in that time.

Statistically, Monday has been Arsenal's most successful day of the Easter period, with a win rate of 52.2 per cent. However Arsenal have only played one Easter Monday game in the past nine years and, across the board, Easter fixtures are nowhere near as plentiful as they were, as the footballing importance of this time of year has diminished.

Up until the mid 1960s, teams would generally play three fixtures during Easter (Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Monday), but the Good Friday fixture fell by the wayside. In fact the Gunners didn't play on Good Friday at all between 1966 and 2004, and just once more since then (2010). The last time Arsenal lost a Good Friday game was back in 1951 – they are 12 unbeaten since then on that day.

During the Premier League era Arsenal have played 25 Easter matches (at an average of 1.3 per season) compared to 96 Easter games between 1946 and 1992 (at 2.1 per season).

The last time Arsenal played three fixtures over Easter was 1966, and this is the fifth consecutive season when Arsenal have just played once between the Friday and Monday (in 1997 and 2005 there was no Easter fixture at all).

Arsenal's Easter record since 1946/47
P W D L F A Win%
Good Friday 16 7 7 2 31 15 43.8%
Easter Saturday 55 27 16 12 98 64 49.1%
Easter Sunday 4 1 1 2 5 6 25
Easter Monday 46 24 11 11 87 55 52.2%
TOTAL 121 59 35 27 221 140 48.8%

So Easter is no longer as vital a part of the footballing calendar as it once was. But during the pre-war era, when the league season often finished in late April, titles were sometimes decided at this time of the year (Easter always falls between March 22 and April 25).

Indeed back in 1935 Arsenal actually won the league title on Easter Monday, April 22 with a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.

Having beaten Middlesbrough at home on Good Friday (8-0), then Huddersfield Town on Saturday (1-0), George Allison's side saw off Middlesbrough with a Ted Drake goal on the Monday to earn six points out of six in four days, and thus seal a hat-trick of Division One titles, with two games to spare.

More recently there was a significant Good Friday result in the unbeaten 2003/04 season.

Arsenal hosted Liverpool on April 9, 2004 - in the previous six days the Gunners had been knocked out of both the Champions League and FA Cup, and had won none of their last four matches.

At half-time that Good Friday Arsène Wenger's men were 2-1 down to Liverpool, facing the prospect of a first league defeat of the season, and a huge blow to their title bid. But Robert Pires scored an equaliser before Thierry Henry completed a memorable hat-trick to secure a 4-2 win. Arsenal went on to win the league and complete an unbeaten season.

In each of Arsenal's last seven league title-winning seasons, the Gunners remained unbeaten at Easter. The full records were: 1953 - P3 W2 D1, 1971 - P1 W1, 1989 - P1 W1, 1991 - P1 W1, 1998 - P2 W2, 2002 - P2 W2, 2004 - P2 W1 D1.

Arsenal's Premier League record at Easter
Good Friday Easter Saturday Easter Sunday Easter Monday
1992/93 - Ipswich 1
Arsenal 2
- Arsenal 0
Aston Villa 1
1993/94 - Arsenal 1
Swindon 1
- Sheff Utd 1
Arsenal 1
1994/95 - Arsenal 4
Ipswich 1
- Aston Villa 0
Arsenal 4
1995/96 - Arsenal 2
Leeds 1
- Sheff Weds 1
Arsenal 0
1996/97 - - - -
1997/98 - Arsenal 3
Newcastle 1
- Blackburn 1
Arsenal 4
1998/99 - Southampton 0
Arsenal 0
- -
1999/00 - - Watford 2
Arsenal 3
-
2000/01 - Arsenal 0
Middlesbrough 3
- -
2001/02 - Arsenal 3
Sunderland 0
- Charlton 0
Arsenal 3
2002/03 - Middlesbrough 0
Arsenal 3
- -
2003/04 Arsenal 4
Liverpool 2
- Newcastle 0
Arsenal 0
-
2004/05 - - - -
2005/06 - Arsenal 3
West Brom 1
- -
2006/07 - Arsenal 0
West Ham 1
- Newcastle 0
Arsenal 0
2007/08 - - Chelsea 2
Arsenal 1
-
2008/09 - Wigan 1
Arsenal 4
- -
2009/10 Arsenal 1
Wolves 0
- - -
2010/11 - - Bolton 2
Arsenal 1
-

Behind The Numbers

Behind The Numbers

Written into Arsenal's very first lease of Highbury was a rule forbidding the Club to play home matches on Good Friday. Christmas Day fixtures were also banned under the terms of the lease, as Arsenal Stadium was built on playing fields belonging to the St John’s College of Divinity.

The condition remained in place until the Club bought the land outright for £64,000 in the mid 1920s - the actual deed of transfer was signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Arsenal hosted their first Good Friday game on April 15, 1927 - a 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

Emirates Stadium has hosted just one Good Friday fixture (2010) and Arsenal haven't played at home on an Easter Monday since 1993.

The Man City game will be just the third Easter fixture played at Emirates Stadium. As well as the Good Friday win over Wolves in 2010, Arsenal hosted West Ham on Easter Saturday 2007, falling to their first ever defeat at the venue.

All stats correct to April 3, 2012. Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme. To subscribe, or buy online, click here.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 5 Apr 2012