Are Teams Vulnerable in the Premier League to a Quick Response when they open the scoring ?

Posted on: October 29th, 2016 by Jonny Grossmark

You will often hear commentators claim that teams are more vulnerable to conceding a goal just after they have scored themselves. True or false?

Peter Ayton and Anna Braennberg tested the validity of this belief. They did so by considering matches across two seasons in the English Premier League that ended in 1-1 draws (this, they reasoned, shows that ‘each team was capable of scoring against the other’). There were 127 such instances during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 campaigns. I came across their study while reading Myths and Facts about Football: The Economics and Psychology of the World’s Greatest Sport (2008).

So, is the team that trails to the game’s opening goal more likely to score just after they have conceded themselves than at any other time during the match?

For each game, the time left after the first goal was divided into four quarters. Say, for instance, the opening goal was scored after 50 minutes. The remaining 40 minutes is divided into four 10-minute quarters. If teams are more likely to concede immediately after scoring, then, naturally, you would expect more equalising goals in the first quarter than the fourth. Is this the case?

It is not.


Nape response  . to add some context > the opening goal by the home team 0-10 minutes in the Premier League > 2-0 pathway will be much more likely then 1-1 , the opening goal by the home team in the Premier league in the 11-20 minutes time band and > 1-1 pathway will be as likely as 2-0 pathway , the opening goal by the away team in the Premier League 0-20 minutes and > 1-1 pathway will be just as likely as 0-2 pathway .


In the table below I have added the last 31 games in the Premier League where the response to the opening goal ( T ) was within 10 minutes or less ( T+ 1 ) and we see that 11/31 ended 1-1 full time 35%.


Sample size can be the red herring in football data analysis because the contents of the sample is far more important .

Are teams vulnerable when they score ?

The answer is that there are leagues where the early goal metric will produce a high % of quick responses and as a result looking at a 1-1 full time sample in individual leagues will skew the data on the basis that a small % of early goal games around the globe will end 1-1  at full time simply because of expectation of acceleration of goal production  .




T T+1 FT
Palace Liverpool A16 H18 2 4
Spurs Leicester H44 A48 1 1
Man City Everton A64 H72 1 1
WBA Spurs H82 A89 1 1
WHU Boro A51 H57 1 1
Swansea Man City A9 H13 1 3
Everton Boro A21 H24 3 1
Southampton Sundereland A80 H85 1 1
Hull Leicester H45 A47 2 1
WBA Liverpool H13 A23 1 1
Watford Sunderland A39 H48 2 2
Norwich Watford A11 H15 4 2
Man City Arsenal H8 A10 2 2
Man UTD Leicester H8 A17 1 1
Everton Bournemouth H7 A9 2 1
Everton Southampton H68 A76 1 1
Watford Everton A45 H45 1 1
WHU Palace A15 H18 2 2
Bournemouth Swansea H37 A39 3 2
Southampton Sundereland A85 H90 1 1
Palace Bournemouth H27 A34 1 2
Everton Swansea A17 H26 1 2
WHU Man City H1 A9 2 2
Spurs Sunderland A40 H42 4 1
Stoke Norwich H49 A55 3 1
Everton Stoke A16 H22 3 4
Chelsea Watford H32 A42 2 2
Everton Leicester A27 H32 2 3
Everton Palace A76 H81 1 1
Palace Newcastle A10 H14 5 1
WBA Arsenal A28 H35 2 1