When watching the Arsenal v Newcastle game the other night I wondered how significant the first goal is within a match…… Does scoring first in the game provide the golden nugget that more often than not leads to victory? So this left me on a mission to raid the internet in an attempt to find some data that would support my thoughts...
So where do I begin? Now with a heap of data at my hands and a long train journey ahead I will report back on my findings. Interesting enough is that every single team in the premier league this year have been involved in a game where one of there opponents has scored before them in a game. At the time of writing this, there have been 28 games played by all teams in the league which provides a fair level of comparison. Would you be surprised if I said propping up the table were Wolves? Of the 28 games they have conceded first in 22 of these. However when looking deeper at the facts it is not all doom and gloom for Wolves and they seem to have still been able to gain a result. Although losing 14 of those 22 games they have won 3 and drawn 5. This is considerably better than a team like Bolton. Whilst Bolton have gone behind in less games only 20 in fact, they have managed to only win 1 of these games after being a goal down and the remaining 19 have been lost……This does not overly surprise me at the bottom of the table, I mean a leaky defence is often a common reason for being in the bottom half of the table. So looking at the top half of the table and more importantly the top 6 teams brings a few facts to the front. Quite amazingly there are 2 teams in the top 6 that have not notched a victory when going behind. Newcastle have gone behind in 9 games and not managed to win one of those. Man Utd have not won any of the 5 games that they have conceded first in and in my mind that must be a first, they have also only managed to grab a draw twice.
So who are the best team with the all important “bouncebackability”. Man City top the chart with only going behind in 4 of their 28 games this season. However is that a fair comparison?
I think the fairest and most honest way to show who is best at coming back from a goal down is by how many points they have managed to gain when having been a goal down. The table below shows the top 9 teams.
So it makes an interesting table with Arsenal topping out at 19 points from games they go a goal down in. Why, will be a much debated topic for another blog and maybes provides Mr. Wenger with some food for thought. However, of these 9 teams, 6 remain in the bottom half of the table with 2 in the relegation zone so I my mind it is always better to score first than concede and therefore emphasis on defending should be maximised…..but then I would as I’m a keeper and clean sheets are our holy grail.