Fact check: Does a Reddit post prove that a 2-0 lead in the first 10 mins is particularly dangerous?


In a new post, Arlington69 claims to have evidence “possibly suggesting” that FIFA has build in game mechanics which make it easier for the losing side to catch up from a 2-0 lead when it happens in the first 10 minutes. Is he finally on to something? We checked it out.

The claim

We often see momentum believers argue that an early lead increases your risk of losing. In Arlington69’s post, which can be seen below in full length, he makes an attempt to verify it by using statistics.

Arlington69’s experiment is based on a dataset covering +1000 of his own matches. In this experiment, he selected all matches where someone was 2-0 up. He then divided that subset into 10 minute intervals depending on the timing of the 2nd goal and counted the number of times where the team leading 2-0 ended up winning, drawing and losing.

Arlington69 found that the winning chance was much lower when the 2-0 lead occured in the first 10 minutes than when it occured later in the match. When a player went 2-0 up in the first 10 minutes, he would win in 65.63 %, whereas the average chance of turning a 2-0 lead into a win was 83.72%.

Based on this observation, Arlington69 makes the following conclusion, which despite some reservations is relatively direct:

“It is an interesting studying and definitely indicates that their is the strong possibility of something at play in the game mechanics.” (– comment on Reddit)

As our returning audience might have guessed, we disagree.


Arlington69 acknowledges that his experiment has certain statistical shortcomings. With samples as small as 13 matches, we fully agree to this. But a larger sample wouldn’t fix the biggest problem we have with this experiment: It’s complete nonsense.

Arlington69’s conclusion relies on the assumption that the probability of recovering from a 2-0 lead under normal circumstances should be constant for all 10 minute intervals of the match. But why should we assume that?

It goes without saying that the chance of scoring 2 goals is larger if you have more time to do it. Therefore, recovering from an early 2-0 lead is easier than recovering from a late 2-0 lead.

To cut it short, we see absolutely no information in Arlington69’s post which seems out of the ordinary. In fact, the post contains multiple pieces of information which leads to the exact opposite conclusion.

Contradicting his own claims

Given Arlington69’s posting history, we assume that his post above is an attempt to put another brick in the wall that he attempted to build in his recent post called “Why I believe in momentum (SHM)”. In said post, Arlington69 claims that there is “a trend for the game to favour the losing team”. But how does his latest observations fit with that claim?

This is a quote from Arlington69’s own post:

“[W]here a team was leading 2 goals to 0 in the first 10 minutes then in 65 % of game that team won. The average is 83%”

So, according to Arlington69, a team leading 2-0 has a winning chance of 83 %. And yet, he believes that the game has mechanics which favours the opposing team, i.e. the team which according to his own statistics ended up winning in less than 8 % of the cases.

If there is anything to be learned from Arlington69’s latest statistics, it has to be that the game quite clearly doesn’t favor the losing team.

Many defeats, many conspiracy theories

There is however another subject that just beggs for attention here:

With Arlington69’s latest post, he puts forward his third different claim about how FIFA matches allegedly are manipulated.

In earlier posts, we have seen him make a case for the idea that (a) the game favours the losing team, (b) the game favours the worse team. With his latest addition, he now also argues that (c) the game favours the losing team in the first 10’ish minutes only.

What should be bleeding obvious is that all three theories cannot be correct at the same time. If the game favours the losing team, it eventually will disfavour the worse team. And obviously, the game cannot favour the losing team only in the first 10 minutes and throughout the match.

So, in a nutshell, Arlington69 is contradicting himself over and over again.

When you are looking for ways to excuse your defeats which usually happen under different circumstances, having multiple, contradicting explanations will work just fine as long as you don’t poke too deeply into the details.

But for the rest of us, Arlington69’s latest theory is just yet another reason to put down momentum for what it really is: A bad excuse.

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