Sky Sports bust common football myths: Game of two halves?

Man Utd vs Tottenham among top games for dramatic second-half recoveries


They often say it's a game of two halves - but how often do results change after the break? We've checked every Premier League result since 1992 to bust the myth...

Sometimes a game appears to be beyond a team at the half-time whistle and it's suggested that a rousing team talk could reverse fortunes. After all, it's a game of two halves, right?

In fact, the half-time result - win, lose or draw - has been unchanged at the final whistle in 6,507 out of 10,794 games - so there is a 60 per cent chance that the half-time result will also be the full-time result.


Despite the fact only 40 per cent of results change during the second interval, it's 26 per cent more likely that a goal is scored after the break. In total, 12,673 goals have been scored during the first half and 15,970 in the second.

Since 1995/96, when the Premier League was reduced to 20 teams, 2010/11 and last season produced the highest number of first-half goals with 476, while only 398 were scored in 2008/09 - close to the 357 scored already this term.

During the second interval, a 25-year-high 602 were scored in 2011/12 and 2016/17 - but just 498 were converted during 2005/06 (427 this season).


Bradford City were the most likely team to finish a game with a different result, with 51.3 per cent changing after the interval during their 76 top-flight games, followed by Swansea (45.1 per cent) and Cardiff (44.7 per cent).

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Conversely, a league-low 31.6 per cent of Blackpool's results changed during their single campaign in 2010/11, followed by Swindon (33.3 per cent) and Oldham (35.7 per cent).


In terms of seasons, 2004/05 really was the season of two halves - with 46.1 per cent of games ending with a different result than the first half, followed by 1999/00 (43.4 per cent), 2002/03 (42.6 per cent) and this season (42.4 per cent).

In contrast, 2009/10 produced the highest number of unchanged results with 64.2 per cent of games ending as it was at the break, followed by 1998/99 (63.7 per cent), 2010/11 (63.4 per cent) and 2003/04 (62.9 per cent).

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Two of the greatest examples of games with distinctly different halves involve the identical fixture: Manchester United vs Tottenham.

In September, 2001, Spurs led United 3-0 at the break but ended up losing the game 5-3 at White Hart Lane. United achieved another five-goal overhaul over Tottenham in 2009, recovering from a 2-0 half-time deficit to win 5-2.

Image: Tottenham 3-5 Man Utd
Image: Man Utd 5-2 Tottenham

Newcastle also salvaged a 4-4 draw against Arsenal after falling four goals behind at the break in 2010/11.

Image: Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal

But there have been numerous memorable games with contrasting halves and we've listed the top 10 below...

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