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Sky Sports bust common football myths: Scored too early?
Tottenham broke the deadlock early but lost to Wolves last month
Last Updated: 03/04/20 8:00am
They often say a team scored too early - but does scoring an early opening goal reduce the chances of winning? We've checked Opta data to bust the myth...
There is a theory that suggests scoring the opening goal too early is less effective than scoring later in the game - instead of building on the early advantage, it gives the initiative to the trailing side.
Just last month, Bournemouth grabbed an early lead at Liverpool but proceeded to lose 2-1, while Spurs struck within the first quarter of an hour against Wolves but were 3-2 down at the full-time whistle. Did they score too early?
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There have been 3,110 opening goals during the first 15 minutes of Premier League games since 1992 - more than any other interval.
Interestingly, that number reduces incrementally, with 2,451 between 16 and 30 minutes, 1,878 (31-45 minutes), 1,132 (46-60 minutes), 758 (61-75 minutes) and 567 (76-90+ minutes).
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Chances of winning
So are teams that score the opening goal early less likely to win than a side that scores it later?
Yes, the odds of winning improve when a team scores an opening goal later in the game - but even an early goal still improves the chances of victory, on average.
Teams breaking the deadlock within the first 15 minutes win 63.6 per cent of the time, increasing in roughly three per cent increments for 16-30 minutes (66.6 per cent), 31-45 minutes (70.3 per cent) and 46-60 minutes (72.5 per cent).
That win rate jumps to 77.7 per cent for opening goals scored between the 61st and 75th minute and soars to 89.6 per cent during the final 15 minutes, which still leaves a 10.4 per cent chance for the trailing team to steal a point or three.
So at 1-0 up, it really isn't over until the final whistle.