How Common Are Own Goals & Who Scores Them?

Own GoalIt’s every player’s nightmare isn’t it, whether you’re playing top flight professional football or just having a knockabout down the park with your mates.

An attacker is steaming forward with the ball, he lines up a shot, wellies it towards the goal, you just manage to get a toe on the end of it to try and knock it wide and… top corner. The keeper was on top of it but your ‘heroic’ effort ended up sending them the wrong way.

Often times no one is really to blame, but there have been some absolute corkers over the decades where responsibility lay unquestionably on a single player’s shoulders.

What Is An Own Goal

Own Goal Definition

It barely needs explaining, but an own goal is when any player on the field accidentally puts the ball in the back of their own net, effectively scoring against themselves and helping the other team.

It doesn’t matter how this comes about either. If the last person to touch the ball before it crosses the line is a player from the defending side, then that is an own goal.

Sometimes it’s a simple deflection, sometimes it’s a fumbled pass back to the keeper, and sometimes it’s a howler of a mis-kick or failed attempt to put the ball behind – they all count. As to who is credited with the goal, well it depends on the circumstances and who you ask.

The referee usually has the final say on who is credited with the goal, but some sources credit goals to their own rules based on if the interjection was deliberate, if the shot was on target or not, etc.

It’s arguably the most embarrassing thing that can happen to a footballer, so much so that the term is now used to explain slip ups in all walks of life, not just the beautiful game. For example, a politician trying to score points by slandering an opponent’s speech defect, only to cause upset countrywide for being insensitive, could be said to have “scored an own goal with that remark”.

Own Goal Stats: Regularity and Most Guilty

StatisticsYou might think own goals would be a rare occurrence in professional football, and to some degree you would be right.

When you look at the number of total goals scored in a premier league season and compare that to the number of own goals, that number is small.

Let’s have a look at how many own goals have gone in over a five season stretch and what percentage of games that makes, bearing in mind the Premier League contains 380 games in a season:

Season Own Goals Scored %
14/15 33 8.8%
15/16 38 10%
16/17 36 9.5%
17/18 30 7.9%
18/19 32 8.4%

That’s pretty consistent from season to season and an average of 8.92%. So that shakily represents the likelihood of an own goal being scored in any given Premier League match.

You might assume that defensive players are most likely to score own goals, and quite right you would be, but have a look at the following stats taken from the same seasons as above and you might be surprised by how many of those goals were scored by forwards and midfielders:

Season OG Goalkeeper OG Defender OG Midfielder OG Forward
14/15 2 24 5 2
15/16 3 29 3 3
16/17 5 21 8 2
17/18 4 23 1 2
18/19 0 24 6 2

Obviously, these stats will vary if you look at different leagues or a different group of seasons, but it’s enlightening information nonetheless.

Defenders were responsible for 71.6% of all own goals over the sample seasons we looked at. Taking own goals scored by goalkeepers out of the equation, that leaves 25.4% of all own goals scored by midfielders and forwards – over a quarter.

Less Serious Stats

MockingFor a bit of fun at someone else’s expense, here are a few more stats and figures for you to use as ammo next time you’re having a footy argument with your mates.

You hereby have our permission to quote these with confidence and claim that you found them out all by yourself.

Just spare a thought for the poor guys who have to live with the knowledge that they hold these unwanted records.

Most Own Goals In One Season

Player Team Season Own Goals Scored
Lewis Dunk Brighton and Hove 17/18 4
Martin Skrtel Liverpool 13/14 4
Scott Dann Blackburn Rovers 11/12 3
Jos Hooiveld Southampton 12/13 3
John Paintsil Fulham 10/11 3
Andreas Jakobsson Southampton 04/05 3

I bet Lewis Dunk’s house was fun at Christmas time 2017…

Most Own Goals in Premier League History

Player Team/s Premier League Appearances Own Goals Scored
Richard Dunn Everton/Man City/Aston Villa/ QPR 431 10
Jamie Carragher Liverpool 508 7
Martin Skrtel Liverpool 242 7
Frank Sinclair Chelsea/Leicester 288 6
Wes Brown Man Utd/Sunderland 308 6
Ryan Shawcross Stoke City 317 6
Phil Jagielka Sheff Utd/Everton 360 6

Dynamite stats to use when your annoying Liverpool supporting mate starts piping up.

And finally:

Team With Most Own Goals in Premier League History

Team Own Goals Shame Level
Everton 50 The Highest Level of Shame
Aston Villa 45 Even Higher Than That
Arsenal 41 Very High Now
Liverpool 39 Still High
Sunderland 39 High

As a Northerner it pains me to say it, but with only one Southern team in the top 5 those of us North of Birmingham should hang our heads.

Do Own Goals Affect Betting?

Betting Slip Acca

Own goals can have absolutely no effect on your bet or they can really mess things up for you, it all depends on what sort of bet you have placed.

It’s worth checking with your bookmaker before you make a bet, because some of them might differ slightly, but in general the following applies:

  • Goalscorer Markets Pre-Match – Bets on first goalscorer, last goalscorer, scorecasts etc., will not count towards the bet. So if you have a first goalscorer bet on Harry Kane but a defender ends up scoring an own goal, your bet will not have lost until the first true goal is scored.
  • Correct Score/Result, BTTS – Conversely, own goals do count on other markets like correct score. If you bet on a 2-0 result and an own goal contributes to that result, your bet will still win.
  • In-Play Bets – Betting live opens the door to new betting lines like next player to score, next team to score, etc. In these situations an own goal would count. That means that if you bet on England to score next against France, and a French defender accidentally puts one away, your bet wins. You can even bet on own goals specifically at some bookies.

There are some other more niche markets that may be affected, but it’s best to go by what is above as a general rule, and check specifics with the bookmaker in question if you have doubts.

Funny & Famous Own Goals

Famous Funny Own GoalsSome of the following examples were really funny at the time (unless you were a supporter of the team in question of course), but one has much darker undertones.

All of them have gone down in football history for one reason or another, and if you ever get the chance to watch playbacks of them we recommend it – especially if you need cheering up.

There are so many more out there, but here is a list of 5 that we think are most noteworthy for various different reasons.

Chris Brass, Darlington vs Bury, 2006

Chris Brass
Credit Ingy the Wingy Wiki Commons

Poor old Chris Brass. He’s done a lot in his career but this clanger while playing for Bury will follow him to his grave.

A Darlington player had lobbed the ball into the box but it wasn’t a particularly dangerous ball. Everything seemed in hand. Enter Chris Brass.

He attempted an overhead kick to clear the ball but somehow managed to kick the ball into his own face. The ball rebounded off his nose and straight past Kasper Schmeical who, to be fair, couldn’t have seen that coming. Even if he had let it in because he was too busy laughing you would have to forgive him. It was hilarious.

But not for Chris, who almost broke his own nose.

Lee Dixon – Arsenal vs Coventry, 1991

Lee Dixon
Credit Ronnie Macdonald (cropped) Flickr

Lee Dixon was a brilliant defender for Arsenal and for England, Arsenal’s back four in particular was legendary for not conceding many goals – but not on this day.

They were known for playing the ball back to their pony-tailed keeper, David Seaman, and early in the game Dixon collected the ball and nonchalantly chipped it back as he had done many times before.

He barely even looked at what he was doing.

He probably should have, because he scored an absolutely brilliant goal past the England No 1 that most strikers would be proud of. It was one of the quickest own goals of all time.

Pat Kruse – Torquay vs Cambridge, 1977

Torquay UnitedThe unwelcome crown for the fastest own goal in history, goas to Pat Kruse, who managed to score against his own team just 6 seconds after the game had begun.

A ball came into the box and Kruse met it with his head in an attempt to clear, failing spectacularly and finding the back of his own net. Hilariously, the match finished 2-2 and Torquay managed to score another own goal later on, so The Gulls scored all four goals in the game.

Pat left Torquay 2 months later. Whether or not this game had anything to do with it is anyone’s guess.

Andres Escobar – Columbia vs United States, 1994

Andres EscobarThis is not a funny story.

Andres Escobar was a 27 year old Columbian centre back who played for Atletico Nacional. During the 1994 world cup, Columbia were facing the home nation in only their second match. They had already lost 3-1 to Romania and had Switzerland to come after the USA.

A cross came behind the defensive line across the box, and Escobar just managed to get his foot onto it to try and knock the ball wide. However, fate came knocking and the ball went across the line. Columbia lost 2-1.

They beat Switzerland but went out at the group stage. A draw against the USA could have changed their fortunes.

Just over a week later, Escobar was found dead in his car back home in Columbia. It was later revealed that he had been shot by members of a cartel, the leader of which had allegedly lost a bet and placed the blame on Escobar.

Jamie Carragher – Liverpool vs Everton XI, 2010

Jamie Carragher
Credit Danny Molyneux Flickr

It was Carragher’s testimonial to be fair, so this one only just counts, but it was funny none the less.

Carragher was an Everton supporter as a boy yet spent his entire professional career playing for local rivals Liverpool.

During his testimonial against an Everton XI he had already scored a spot kick for the reds, before giving away a penalty for a foul against James Vaughan.

As the penalty taker was lining up the shot, Carragher ran in a put the ball past Liverpool keeper, Brad Jones, scoring a deliberate own goal for his childhood team.