The following graph, depicting in which periods of the game certain teams scored in the Premier League so far this season, is currently trending first on Reddit/r/soccer:
Here ladies and gentleman, is another example of something looking like it’s telling us something when it isn’t. At all.
First, goals, as we’ve discussed in previous posts on this subject, are unevenly distributed over a number of games. In other words, they’re comparatively rare events in football. And we’ve only had 11 games this season.
The graph seems to presume that some teams have “trouble scoring” at certain moments of the game. First, the sample, considering the general paucity of goals scored relative to shots/shots on target, is far, far too small to make any general statements about how teams are faring as far as which periods of the game they’re scoring in.
Even if the sample was adequately expanded (and it would have to be big following the law of large numbers), it would also have to correct for in-game situations in order to yield any interesting information. As in, a team may not have scored in the latter half of a game because it’s protecting a lead and has change to a more defensive formation.
Trying to point out goal-deficiencies in fifteen minute intervals in an eleven-game season is only a little less stupid than wondering why there weren’t more plane crashes on August 24th at 10:30 in the morning this year.