Late Winners

Behind the Numbers - Late goals

This week our statistician Josh James looks at Arsenal's history of scoring late winners in the Premier League.

Saturday's match against Aston Villa was the first time this season Arsenal had clinched victory in the final five minutes of a Premier League game, and the 35th time in all since the league started in 1992/93.

So, on average, Arsenal win fewer than two games per season in the last five minutes of play, but since the start of 2010 Arsenal have managed it 11 times - earning an extra 22 points in the process.

"This weekend was the fourth time in Premier League history that Arsenal had beaten Aston Villa in the last five minutes"

Last season Arsenal turned one point into three in the final five minutes on no fewer than six occasions - more than any previous Premier League campaign.

That accounted for more than a quarter (28.6 per cent) of the team's league wins in 2011/12. Overall in the Premier League, roughly one in every 12 (8.2 per cent) of the Gunners' 428 wins were secured in the final five minutes of play.

Saturday's late victory was the first since April of last year, when Mikel Arteta scored after 87 minutes to defeat Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.

The last three late winners have all come at Emirates Stadium though, perhaps surprisingly, prior to that there was exactly a 50:50 split between late home wins and late away wins (16 each).

Arsenal's winners in last five minutes of Premier League games

Date Opposition Score Venue Minute Scorer
Oct 3, 1992 Chelsea 2-1 H 85 Ian Wright
Apr 10, 1993 Ipswich Town 2-1 A 87 Paul Merson
Aug 16, 1993 Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 A 87 Ian Wright
Dec 12, 1993 Sheffield Wed. 1-0 H 90 Ian Wright
Apr 23, 1994 Aston Villa 2-1 A 90 Ian Wright
Sept 10, 1995 Manchester City 1-0 A 90 Ian Wright
Apr 6, 1996 Leeds United 2-1 H 90 Ian Wright
Nov 24, 1996 Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 H 88 Tony Adams*
Sept 21, 1997 Chelsea 3-2 A 89 Nigel Winterburn
Aug 7, 1999 Leicester City 2-1 H 90 Frank Sinclair (og)
Sept 25, 1999 Watford 1-0 H 86 Kanu
Oct 23, 1999 Chelsea 3-2 A 90 Kanu
May 2, 2000 West Ham United 2-1 H 90 Emmanuel Petit
Dec 2, 2000 Southampton 1-0 H 85 Patrick Vieira
Dec 9, 2001 Aston Villa 3-2 H 90 Thierry Henry
Apr 6, 2002 Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 H 86 Lauren
Sept 21, 2002 Bolton Wanderers 2-1 H 90 Kanu
Dec 26, 2002 W.B.A. 2-1 A 85 Thierry Henry
Feb 1, 2003 Fulham 2-1 H 90 Robert Pires
Sept 17, 2006 Manchester United 1-0 A 85 Emmanuel Adebayor
Dec 13, 2006 Wigan Athletic 1-0 A 88 Emmanuel Adebayor
Jan 21, 2007 Manchester United 2-1 H 90 Thierry Henry
Aug 12, 2007 Fulham 2-1 H 90 Alex Hleb
Mar 29, 2008 Bolton Wanderers 3-2 A 90 Jlloyd Samuel (og)
Feb 27, 2010 Stoke City 3-1 A 90 Cesc Fabregas*
Mar 13, 2010 Hull City 2-1 A 90 Nicklas Bendtner
Apr 3, 2010 Wolves 1-0 H 90 Nicklas Bendtner
Oct 30, 2010 West Ham United 1-0 H 88 Alex Song
Oct 29, 2011 Chelsea 5-3 A 85 Robin van Persie*
Dec 21, 2011 Aston Villa 2-1 A 87 Yossi Benayoun
Feb 11, 2012 Sunderland 2-1 A 90 Thierry Henry
Mar 3, 2012 Liverpool 2-1 A 90 Robin van Persie
Mar 12, 2012 Newcastle United 2-1 H 90 Thomas Vermaelen
Apr 8, 2012 Manchester City 1-0 H 87 Mikel Arteta
Feb 23, 2013 Aston Villa 2-1 H 85 Santi Cazorla

* Scorer to put Arsenal ahead


Late winners, season-by-season

Late winners


Only two teams have claimed more late winners in Premier League history than the Gunners - Chelsea (39) and Liverpool (47).

However, this can be partly explained by the fact that Arsenal have won more Premier League games than any side apart from Manchester United. So looking at late wins as a proportion of overall victories is more revealing.

Where late winners were scored

Arsenal are ranked 27th in this chart, with 8.2 per cent of their wins coming in the final five minutes of games. This average has crept up in the last few years - between 2003/04 and 2005/06 the Gunners went three consecutive seasons without winning any games in the last five minutes.

Manchester United are ranked even lower, in 36th place, with just 6.7 per cent of their wins being secured late on.

In fact the stats show that, historically, the league's more successful teams do not depend upon late winners as much as the sides in the rest of the division do.

The team with the highest ratio of late wins in Premier League history is Hull City (21.4 per cent), though as they have only won 14 games in all, those stats may be skewed.

So, only including sides that have 50 or more Premier League wins to their name, Stoke City (16.7 per cent), Wigan Athletic (15.9 per cent) and Bolton Wanderers (15.4 per cent) are the three teams with the highest proportion of late wins.

As for being on the receiving end of late winners, this weekend was the fourth time in Premier League history that Arsenal had beaten Aston Villa in the last five minutes - the joint-highest number of times the Gunners have seen off a specific opponent with late strikes.

The other team Arsenal have beaten four times in the final throes is Chelsea; three of those wins were at Stamford Bridge.

This weekend's opponents Tottenham have been on the receiving end of a late Arsenal winner three times in Premier League history, but not since 2002.


All Premier League winning goals (85+ minutes)

All Premier League winning goals



Teams late winners have come against

Teams late winners have come against


Not including own goals, 20 different players have come up with these crucial late goals for Arsenal, with Ian Wright proving the king of the last-ditch winner. He scored six late winners in all, including four in the last minute of games.
Those four are among 19 last-minute or injury-time goals Arsenal have scored in the Premier League. The most recent example is Thomas Vermaelen's dramatic clincher at home to Newcastle United back in March.

Thierry Henry is second on the list, with four late winners. They include his last ever goal for the Club - the 90th-minute strike to beat Sunderland last February.

Incidentally, where two goals were scored in the last five minutes (v Tottenham in 1996, Stoke in 2010 and Chelsea in 2011) the scorer who put the Gunners in the lead, rather than the player who scored the 'bonus' goal, is included here.


Arsenal match-winners in last five minutes

Arsenal match-winners in last five minutes


Stats correct as at February 26, 2013. With thanks to Opta.

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