Importance Of The First Goal And Other Interesting Statistics

On a weekend when the best games on TV are Bolton V Tottenham and Napoli V Inter, I just have to find other ways of amusing myself. As regular readers will know one of these ways is playing with numbers. So here I am at it again.

Did you know that Chelsea have conceded first in 8 or their 26 games while Arsenal have conceded in 9 and United in 10? While there’s nothing fascinating about these numbers, the results of these games are quite interesting.

Top 3 Stats When Conceding First

(c) DesiGunner

GCF: Games when Conceded First; W: Won; D:Drawn; L:Lost; PR: Points Recovered; PL: Points Lost; TPL: Total Points Lost.

Chelsea are clear leaders in recovering points and turning games around. They have recovered 15 points out of a possible 24 while losing only one game. In a tightly fought league this ability has certainly gone a long way in giving them a slender lead.

Arsenal and United on the other hand have lost five of these games. We have won three of our nine and United only have twenty percent success in such games. Clearly, conceding the first goal makes life difficult. In fact, United have lost only five games this season and all by a 1-0 scoreline. They have only turned it around twice in ten games and one of those was against us. It further highlights how we gifted the points in that game. (Just for the sake of it, if you reverse that result we would be ahead of them in the league.)

The last column shows the total points a team has dropped. Chelsea have dropped 20 points in total and that means they have given away 11 points from a winning position. That’s a surprising number for a team with such a strong defense. While they have the same number of points as us in the away table, they have lost three games after scoring first. It is a clear indication of how bad their away form is. Perhaps this is the reason why they are not running away with the league title and I have a feeling these numbers will only worsen as the season goes down to the wire.

In direct contrast, United have lost all their points when they have conceded first. In other words, if the Mancs score first you can wave the points goodbye! No matter who you are you just cannot get anything out of the game. We have first hand experience of this in the league and in the Champions League. There’s something about Fergie, all his teams have had this trait and it’s one of the cornerstones of their success.

Arsenal on the other hand have lost seven points after scoring first. Three of those were against United and the others were draws against West Ham and Burnley. We also had a 0-0 draw with Villa that doesn’t fall into either category.

We’ve all talked about the importance of the first goal and this analysis quantifies that importance to some extent. We’ve also seen the problems when we concede first in big games. I guess the Liverpool game showed that we can always score a late goal and win but it’s generally difficult to come back into a game after conceding first. Maybe there is a tactical pointer in there somewhere.


12 Responses to Importance Of The First Goal And Other Interesting Statistics

  1. Aussie Jack says:

    Yeah! know what you mean Desi. I tried playing solitaire, then the lotto numbers, rolled a few dice, just to see how many times a pair came up and finally tried selecting the side to meet Porto. Yesterday was, what I call a Cary Grant Sunday, pouring with rain and nothing to do so a Cary Grant movie always used to fit the bill. I met him once and mentioned the fact. In the absense of Mr. Grant I tried selecting my ideal Arsenal side, you know the one with Messi, Villa and Ribery in it where Cesc gets bench time. Then I fell asleep.

    • desigunner says:

      I normally have phases were I pick one director and watch a few of his flicks, don’t think I’ve ever done that for an actor. Will try it next time 🙂

  2. Robespierre says:

    Only games in TV? watch Barca, one learns a lot about Arsenal, e.g. today when they had their worse game of the season and lost on two counter attacks of the like we are familiar with, but the usually know how to defend against, very instructive game for gunners to watch

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah the TV folks in the US seem to have more interest in the Italian league rather than La Liga. I enjoy watching Spanish football though, it’s very open and even the small teams try to play. From a football point of view Barca are brilliant but their politics makes them unpalatable.

  3. Robespierre says:

    would be interesting if you have the stats how often we scored first in the first part of the season when vPersie was around , Arshavin playing in position and we were clicking, compared to now. The impression is that we opened well against the big teams but failed to take the couple of great chances created early on.

  4. Ole Gunner says:

    But it’s very well known. It’s become more important than ever in contemporary football, and especially the big games.

    It depends on the opposition. But if Chelsea score first you’ll see perfect catenaccio and you simply have to take risks to open them up.

    It’s why they’re then likely to catch you in the break.

    • desigunner says:

      Yes it’s quite well known but I didn’t realize the specifics. One that Chelsea had turned so many around and two that United haven’t dropped a single point after scoring first.

      The points Chelsea have lost after taking a lead are an even bigger surprise because I expected perfect Catenaccio. Something United seem to have mastered without giving the impression of being a defense focussed team.

    • Ole Gunner says:

      I was talking about the big games against top opposition. In other words, the Top 4 mini league.

      • desigunner says:

        In the mini league, especially against United and Chelsea we have lost leads but I don’t remember us coming back except for the league game at the bridge last year.

        And If we include Liverpool then I guess the mugsmashers are one of the teams who have been able to turn it around against United.

        Will look at the stats on this in the next break in football to see what the exact facts are.

  5. Muhammad Zahid says:

    Good article to pass the time without any football around.
    anyways these stats matter most at the end of season and i m sure Arsene is fully aware of that as team is improving continuesly on the stats front.
    keep on delivering good stats.

  6. bobbygee says:

    Score first.It requires more energy to dig out of hole than it does to hold on to a lead. Good points. Man U is great front runner. Chelsea is great at coming from behind and either winning or tying to save points. Arsenal is right in the middle. The Bolton-Tottenham match was a wild one. Chelsea lost to Everton. The Blues scored first. Not good. It is a sports addage that the championship goes to the team with the best road record. Last year Man U had the best road record.
    http://defutebol.net

  7. Pick 6 Leak Pdf

    Importance Of The First Goal And Other Interesting Statistics | Desi Gunner

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