Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Do we get more added time when we need it?

Posted by hakanrylander on September 22, 2009

Following the controversy surrounding the amount of time added in the derby, the Guardian today publishes an interesting study that they claim shows that United benefit from an imbalance in the amount of stoppage time added to their matches.

The Guardian has looked at all of United’s league matches at Old Trafford since the start of the 2006-07 season and discovered that, on average, there has been over a minute extra added by referees when United do not have the lead after 90 minutes, compared to when they are in front. In 48 games when United were ahead, the average amount of stoppage time was 191.35 seconds. In 12 matches when United were drawing or losing there was an average of 257.17sec.

In 2006-07 United were winning 15 times on entering stoppage time and referees added an average 194.53sec. In the four games when United were not winning there was an average of 217.25sec. The following year the disparity was greater, Opta’s figures showing an average 178.29sec added when United were winning and 254.5sec when they were not. Last season it was 187.71sec compared to 258.6sec.

At first glance I’m unable to find any fundamental mistakes that the Guardian has made in this study. Could any of the, undoubtedly numerous, statistical experts among our readers help me prove that the newspaper’s findings are crap? Or do we actually get some preferential treatment at home?

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4 Responses to “Do we get more added time when we need it?”

  1. I think the data needs to be supported with information on the number of substitutions per game. The last minute strategy is of course linked to the score at the end of the game. It would be interested to see the average amount of stoppage time adjusted for the number of substitutions.

    Furthermore, for the finding to carry any weight the situation for other clubs must be scrutinized. Perhaps all clubs are getting a little extra time when they are down by a goal? It could be the case that any home team being down with a single goal is always awarded some extra stoppage time by the zebras and the fact that ManUtd is awarded more extra stoppage time comes from the fact that they very seldom (*SIGH*) are down by more than one goal?

    Ergo: The main weakness in the stats summery is that they do not compare to the situation for other clubs.

  2. I agree with Fabror. Its same as fortune favors the brave. Fergie make a substitution just to get 30 secs extra not for any tactical reason. Other teams can do the same.
    If Man City would have scored in that period, Hughes would not have complained. Its just he lost this game and could not make his point about being good enuff for top 4 that he is so pissed off.

  3. Naren said

    I think the issue to focus on is not just how much time is added on. There will always be different interpretations and different circumstances which demand that different amounts of time are added on.

    The main issue to consider would be as follows : How much time is indicated as the minimum time to be added on and how much time was actually added on. This is the actual controversy in the City match and thus, is the question that needs to be added

  4. Scrambo said

    If a team is leading at Old Trafford they are likely to try to waste time. The Ref is obliged to add it on. If, however, as is usual, United are winning, often by two or more goals, we will not waste time. Sometimes the opposition are glad to hear the final whistle to put them out of their misery. This accounts for why there is the same disparity with all the top four clubs. however if you compare the stats, we come out worse than the others.

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