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Opinion

What Premier League Expected Goals stats tell us about Newcastle United 1 Everton 2

10 months ago
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Expected Goals is widely agreed to be the best way of measuring how well Premier League clubs play in any particular game.

To get a better look at how sides are doing, the Expected Goals (xG) metric allows you to get a better picture of just how teams are performing.

Expected goals (xG) is a statistic used to work out how many goals should be scored in a match.

With every single shot awarded an xG value based on the difficulty of the attempt, with factors including distance from goal, type of shot and number of defenders present affecting the value.

The higher the xG of a particular shot, the more likely a goal should be scored from that shot.

The xG value of every shot in a game is then used to calculate the expected goals in a particular match.

So rather than just the usual basic statistics of how many shots each team has, Expected Goals factors in where shots were taken from and how good a chance was and whether defenders in the way etc.

These are the weekend’s Premier League Expected Goals stats (actual final scoreline in brackets) by Understat:

Saturday 28 December:

Brighton 1.06 v 0.50 Bournemouth (2-0)

Newcastle United 1.63 v 2.83 (1-2) Everton

Southampton 1.48 v 0.14 Crystal Palace

Watford 3.25 v 0.61 Aston Villa (3-0)

Norwich 0.27 v 1.82 Tottenham (2-2)

West Ham 0.78 v 2.62 Leicester (1-2)

Burnley 0.39 v 2.11 Manchester United (0-2)

Sunday 29 December:

Arsenal 0.79 v 1.50 Chelsea (1-2)

Liverpool 1.49 v 0.36 Wolves (1-0)

Manchester City 1.09 v 1.23 Sheffield United (2-0)

As you can see, in almost every case the results tend to match up with the Expected Goals stats.

The team that works the best chances most often in a match, gives itself the best chance of winning.

Though of course the very best/worst thing about football is that unlike most sports such as rugby where dominance almost always equals winning, when all you have to do is run across a line, or kick a ball over people’s heads where they can do nothing to stop it. With football you can have a keeper putting in an inspired display, hitting  the post instead of going in, strikers scoring every chance, strikers missing every chance.

The unlucky teams (according to expected goals stats) this weekend are Tottenham who were so dominant on chances against Norwich but only got a draw, plus Sheffield United look to have deserved a draw at Man City.

As for Newcastle United, as usual the opposition had better/more chances in the game and the differential (1.63 v 2.83) was substantial in Everton’s favour.

The expected goals stats back up what we saw. Yes Newcastle were more attacking than usual BUT Everton had far more good chances to score. Martin Dubravka having a series of excellent saves, whilst Pickford wasn’t really seriously tested apart from the goal, though Almiron unlucky to see his effort hit the inside of the post.

Almost every match Newcastle have had worse expected goals stats than the opposition but carried massive luck so many times, now that luck maybe appears to be running out. Clearly NUFC need a far better plan on how exactly they are going  to create more chances and score more goals, relying solely on the defence keeping clean sheets and sneaking a goal from somewhere with minimal chances created, is no kind of plan.

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