How Common Are Own goals In Football?

own goal definition dictionaryOne of the most unfortunate – and sometimes comical – things about football is the own goal. They are humiliating for the player, annoying for the team and, when they are responsible for chalking out a goal for a nominated player, can ruin many goal scorer and other bets.

But what is an own goal? An own goal is simply when a footballer puts the ball into their own net resulting in a goal for the opposing team. However, there are occasions when a player has the last touch before the goal is awarded that are not given as own goals. This is because the dubious goals committee deem that the ball would have gone in anyway without the need for the unfortunate deflection.

Do Own Goals Count In Betting?

market depthIt might be one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to players but in betting terms an own goal will not impact on other goal scorer bets. When you are backing the first goal scorer and the first goal of the match is an own goal, the bet carries over until the next goal is scored and it is the second goal that will apply to your bets. Alternatively, if you are backing a player to score first and he is the player that scores the own goal, your bet won’t pay out.

It will, however impact on other bets.  If, for example, you wanted to bet on a match ending up 0-0 you are better betting on the ‘no goalscorer’ market instead.  In the event of an own goal and the match finishing 1-0 the no goalscorer bet will pay out but the 0-0 bet won’t.  Often the odds are almost identical too.

Own Goal Frequency

percentageOwn goals are not as frequent as you might think although, over the years, the rate has risen. During the 2020/21 season when almost all of the 380 matches in the Premier League were played behind closed doors, the percentage of goals scored that were marked down as own goals was 10% a figure that hadn’t been reached in half a decade.

The lowest figure in the past seven seasons was set at the end of the 2018 season and was 7.9%. Other than that, the figure doesn’t fluctuate to wildly.

Own Goals In The Premier League

SeasonOwn Goals ScoredPercentage

Where Do Own Goals Come From?

football players and goalkeeper contest the ball in the air in the boxIt seems that corners and free kicks are one of the main sources of own goals as the result of the melee and often panic that results when a ball is served into the area. In these occasions, own goals can occur when the defensive player heads the ball into their own goal or just have the unlucky final touch. Of course, and this is far rarer, sometimes a player simply does a silly thing when attempting to pass back to their own keeper and slots the ball home.

Football’s rules are designed to favour the attacking players and as the game flows at a faster pace than in the past, more shots are had which raises the likelihood of an own goal. In all, there is an 8.92% chance of an own goal being scored in a Premier League match.

Who Scores The Most Own Goals?

PlayerPositionClubs Played ForOwn Goals Scored
Richard DunneCentre BackMan City, Aston Villa10
Jamie CarragherCentre BackLiverpool7
Zat KnightCentre BackBolton Wanderers, Fulham7
Martin SkrtelCentre BackLiverpool7
Wes BrownCentre BackManchester United, Sunderland6
Rio FerdinandCentre BackWest Ham United, Leeds United, Manchester United6
Phil JagielkaCentre BackSheffield United, Everton6
Gareth McAuleyCentre BackWest Bromwich Albion6
Ryan ShawcrossCentre BackStoke City6
Henning BergCentre BackManchester United, Blackburn Rovers5
Scott DannCentre BackBlackburn Rovers, Birmingham City5
Michael DuberryCentre BackLeeds United, Chelsea, Reading5
Gary PallisterCentre BackManchester United, Middlesbrough FC5
Frank SinclairCentre BackChelsea, Leicester City5

It is hardly surprising, but the majority of own goals are scored by defenders and goalkeepers as they are ones that tend to be in and around their own goals. Occasionally a midfielder or even an attacker can put the ball in their own net when getting back to help out in defence but these players, generally speaking, spend the majority of the match outside of their own area.

The defender who has scored the most own goals of any one in the Premier League is former Aston Villa, QPR and Manchester City centre back Richard Dunne who breached his own net a record ten times. He is followed in the list by Liverpool pair Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel who, along with Zat Night of Bolton Wanderers, all scored seven own goals in their time.

Unsurprisingly, they were all centre backs.