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High scoring games: Worth more than just enjoyment?

There is nothing worse, from a football fans point of view, than a dull 0-0 game. ‘That’s 90 minutes I’ll never get back’ is often muttered amongst fans when having just sat through one of these awful matches. Whilst they do not happen often, they can be painstakingly boring for all involved. It is true that a goal doesn’t automatically make it better (I’m sure most fans would take a 0-0 over a loss) but they do add that extra bit of excitement.

On the other side of the scale, some games are blessed with goals. Fans love these kinds of matches and we simply can’t get enough of them. Some high scoring games are closely contested and just provide what every fan wants to witness. Attacking play, excitement and ultimately, plenty of goals. Andrei Arshavin once scored four goals against Liverpool (by no means an easy feat) and yet Arsenal did not win the match, it ended an incredible 4-4. Such a closely contested match with that many goals is an absolute spectacle for all involved. But what about the thrashings?

I’m sure most fans enjoyed hearing about and watching Man City’s 8-0 drubbing of Watford recently. Incredibly, this wasn’t the biggest win ever in the Premier League. Manchester United put nine past Ipswich Town way back in 1995. Will we ever see a team put double figures past a fellow Premier League team? This might seem completely outrageous, especially when there have only ever been six Premier League games that had 10 or more goals in them. There is such a disparity now, somewhat thanks to financial power, between the top and bottom of the Premier League that this may not be just fantasy for too much longer. The goal scoring rates of those at the top are insane and so high scoring games don’t often go amiss.

Pep has even famously been seen displeased with his players even when they are winning by substantial margins. Apart from the perhaps unwarranted risk of the hairdryer treatment, there seems to be a lack of reasoning for going goal crazy. If teams are level on points come the end of the season, the team with the highest goal difference and then goals scored, comes out on top. Whether or not teams think about this from the get go is to be debated, but as this is a rare occasion it is probably not at the forefront of every managers mind.

Could high-scoring games mean more than just the enjoyment they bring the winning team? Maybe a more objective and short term reward could bring about of the desired gems that we call goals. For example, some fans suggest that obtaining an extra point for scoring a certain amount of goals could provide an extra spice to every single game for both teams. This would almost definitely provide more attacking football and rewards those that go the extra mile and score copious amounts of goals. It also adds an extra impetus for those who may not score too many goals, to seek out more goals in order to obtain an extra invaluable point.

Maybe as football fans we are just greedy. Last season saw the record amount of goals scored in a Premier League season since the 20-team league was introduced. Whilst early days, the current goals per game rate of the 2019/20 season is on track to beat this record once again. But most football fans would not object to higher scoring games, so maybe a reward system inviting teams to score more goals would be welcomed with open arms.

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