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Opinion

Expected Goals stats are staggering after Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0

9 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 22 February 2020

Chelsea 1.70 v 0.27 Tottenham (2-1)

Crystal Palace 1.75 v 0.16 Newcastle United (1-0)

Burnley 3.07 v 1.86 Bournemouth (3-0)

Southampton 3.06 v 0.27 Aston Villa (2-0)

Sheffield United 1.66 v 1.01 Brighton (1-1)

Leicester 0.71 v 2.28 Manchester City (0-1)

Sunday 23 February 2020

Manchester United 2.23 v 0.30 Watford (3-0)

Wolves 3.26 v 0.33 Norwich (3-0)

Arsenal 1.35 v 1.79 Everton (3-2)

As you can see, in pretty much every case the winners matched 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.

So Chelsea, Man City, Wolves, Man Utd, Southampton and Burnley were very much deserving of their wins on balance of play/chances.

Arsenal (1.35) maybe a little fortunate to win over Everton (1.79) when the figures probably suggest a draw.

Similarly, Sheff Utd (1.66) a bit unlucky to only get a point and not a win against Brighton (1.01)

As for the Newcastle game at Crystal Palace, the home side had an expected goals stat of 11 times what the Newcastle one was!

Steve Bruce and his team barely registering as an attacking threat with an expected goals stat of only 0.16, which is little surprise when Newcastle rarely got into any shooting positions at all, the only two efforts on target from 25 and 30 yards.

Ironically, Palace’s only goal came from one of their most difficult shooting positions, wasting numerous chances from inside the box and denied by some world class Dubravka saves.

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