Last weekend Tottenham gifted Liverpool a late own goal maintaining the momentum for the Premier League title race. As usual when these last gasp incidents happen the world of social media goes into overdrive. One of the more popular claims, that constantly reasserts itself, is that Tottenham have a proclivity to collapse and concede late goals. This view has crept into public perception – it is woven into Tottenham’s DNA to ‘bottle it’ and that this is a ‘cultural’ facet of the club. Mental strengths and resilience are often called into question.
Let’s consider the evidence on late goals for and against Tottenham when the margins are tight, meaning that they shape the result. These are the late goals that matter as they swing the result when only a one goal margin between the teams exists. I define late goals as those from the 85th minute to the final whistle.
Since the Premier League began Tottenham have been involved in 133 of these encounters where late goals changed the outcome. The facts are that 56 late incidents have gone against Tottenham (where they conceded) but 77 have gone in their favour (where they scored).
The first table shows the breakdown of the 56 times Spurs went from winning to drawing (2 points dropped), drawing to losing (1 pointed dropped) and winning to losing (3 points dropped). Since 1992 Tottenham have dropped 78 points late on – the one total turnaround was against Everton in 2012 when Steven Pienaar (90), and Nikica Jelavic (90+2) scored in the dying stages.