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Expected Goals stats are overwhelming after Southampton 0 Newcastle 1

2 weeks 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 7 March 2020

Liverpool 1.90 v 1.47 Bournemouth (2-1)

Arsenal 1.56 v 1.61 West Ham (1-0)

Crystal Palace 0.85 v 0.45 Watford (1-0)

Sheffield United 1.25 v 1.33 Norwich (1-0)

Southampton 0.34 v 2.96 Newcastle United (0-1)

Wolves 0.81 v 0.31 Brighton (0-0)

Burnley 3.35 v 1.14 Tottenham (1-1)

Sunday 8 March 2020

Chelsea 2.31 v 0.40 Everton (4-0)

Manchester United 1.74 v 0.59 Manchester City (2-0)

Monday 9 March 2020

Leicester 2.4 v 0.67 Aston Villa (4-0)

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 Utd, Liverpool, Leicester and Crystal Palace were very much deserving of their wins on balance of play/chances.

Whilst Sheff Utd and Arsenal won in tight matches that the expected goals figures suggest could have gone either way. Wolves the better team against Brighton but not massively so, meaning a draw wasn’t out of step with expected goals figures.

Burnley probably the unluckiest, they had an expected goals rating of 3.35 compared to Tottenham’s 1.14, but Spurs getting away with a draw.

As for Newcastle United…

Well, NUFC have very rarely even had a expected goals figure close to the opposition’s this season but a very different story on Saturday.

Newcastle had actually the biggest Expected Goals advantage of any match this weekend, 2.96 against Southampton’s 0.34.

Analysing the game with your own eyes, it is blatantly obvious why.

Expected Goals is all about the number of, and especially the quality of, the chances you create.

On Saturday, I reckon Newcastle had more clear chances from good positions than possibly they have had in total all season!

In the eighth minute alone, the Saints keeper made a triple save as NUFC had three shots all from with six or seven yards of goal. Dwight Gayle had another two or three great chances from within 10 yards or so, unmarked as well (expected goals takes that into account as well, where defenders are).

Then of course we had Ritchie’s penalty failure from 12 yards.

Playing against 10 men for the vast majority of the match was a massive help, if NUFC can create as many good chances on Saturday against 11 man Sheffield United, then I will begin to think that just maybe things are on the turn.

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