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It's Fergie Time


After Manchester United’s recent defeat to Tottenham, Sir Alex Ferguson was once again furious about the amount of injury time played. He even went as far as to claim the four minutes Chris Foy added was an ‘insult’.

They gave us four minutes, that’s an insult to the game

However, while it is a common theme in the United manager’s post-match interviews that Manchester United do not receive enough added time, many other football fans think the opposite. In many people’s opinion Sir Alex Ferguson constant complaints pressures referees to award United excessive stoppage time.

I wanted to see which was correct so I started off by looking at the amount of injury time added to all the premier league matches played this season and calculated the average for each team. This is total injury time so accounts for time added to both the first and second halves of the match.


Figure One: Average stoppage time in seconds added so far in the Premier League

As you can see above, Manchester United are towards the top of the list but there are still three teams that on average receive more injury time in their matches. Fans of West Ham perhaps get the best value for money for their match tickets as they are top of the list with just under 500 seconds added to each match.

Somewhat surprisingly Manchester City and Arsenal are both near the bottom, with 335 and 366 seconds, respectively. This suggests that so far in the season, bigger clubs are not necessarily receiving any bias based on their status.

As we have only had seven weeks of the Premier League played so far we cannot draw too many firm conclusions from this relatively small sample set. Currently though there is no statistical difference (p > 0.05) between the amount of stoppage time Manchester United have received compared with any other team in the Premier League. Maybe this is why Sir Alex Ferguson is getting so worked up…


Jonas - December 12, 2012

More Or Less on BBC radio 4 did a piece on this a couple of weeks ago. They looked closer at differences when Manchester is under or draw, and also compared them to the other teams i EPL. If I recall correctly their conclusion was that better teams get more injurytime, and that there was some difference wether they played at home or away.

Martin Eastwood - December 12, 2014

Interesting, thanks for the link Jonas!

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