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Opinion

Expected Goals stats tell the very real story after Newcastle 1 Nottingham Forest 3

2 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 Premier League matches from Boxing Day, with the Premier League Expected Goals stats (and actual final scoreline in brackets) by Understat:

Newcastle 2.79 v Forest 3.11 (1-3)

Bournemouth 2.08 v Fulham 0.32 (3-0)

Sheff Utd 3.62 v Luton 0.72 (2-3)

Burnley 0.97 v Liverpool 1.68 (0-2)

Man U 1.20 v Villa 1.84 (3-2)

As you can see, based on quality of them and the number of chances, Bournemouth and Liverpool clearly deserving their respective wins, especially the Cherries.

Whilst on the other hand, Villa failing to finish off Man U with the chances they created and allowing the home side to make that comeback and get a very fortunate win.

That is nothing of course compared to Sheffield United, who despite a 3.62 v 0.72 dominance on the Expected Goals stat, managed to lose 3-2 to Luton. I just checked and Luton scored three times despite having only four efforts on target. Which massively underlines how important taking your chances is. The Blades were by far the better team but didn’t make that count in front of goal.

Which brings us to Newcastle United.

The expected goals stats show 2.79 for Newcastle and 3.11 for Forest.

Whilst things clearly went wrong at the back, yet again Newcastle United are not taking their chances. At key moments such as Callum Wilson failing with that real sitter at Luton at 0-0, then of course against Forest so many bad decisions and/or poor finishing. Almiron springing to mind when just before half-time we had a great position in their box where he could / should have shot himself, but chose to try and pass to one of our three other players in the box against only a couple of defenders I think, only for his poor pass to be cut out and seconds later Chris Wood has an open goal at the other end.

That is the thing as well, that Wood open goal and the other two ending up as one on ones with Dubravka, means those three chances would have had very high expected goals ratings, included in that 3.11 total. Forest did have other chances BUT overall, Newcastle United had at least as many and in reality far more chances and/or great situations, where we just didn’t take advantage of them.

This wasn’t a story of Forest dominating.

It was a match of poor finishing and decision making by Newcastle in and around the Forest area, then some poor defending at the back and cool finishing by Chris Wood.

Stats via BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Nottingham Forest 3 – Tuesday 26 December 12.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Isak 23 pen

Forest:

Wood 45+1, 53, 60

Possession was Forest 38% Newcastle 62%

Total shots were Forest 15 Newcastle 19

Shots on target were Forest 6 Newcastle 7

Corners were Forest 2 Newcastle 10

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Attendance: 52,207 (3,000 Forest)

Newcastle team v Forest:

Dubravka, Trippier, Schar, Botman (Hall 79), Burn (Livramento 55), Miley, Guimaraes, Longstaff (Joelinton 71), Almiron (Wilson 55), Isak, Gordon

Unused subs:

Karius, Dummett, Ritchie, Krafth, Alex Murphy

(Newcastle 1 Nottingham Forest 3 – Match ratings and comments on all of the Newcastle United players – Read HERE)

(Be upset as Newcastle United fans that NUFC lost but try and keep the toys in your pram – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Nottingham Forest 3 – Instant Newcastle United fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 1 Nottingham Forest 3 – Things went from bad to worse – Read HERE)

Newcastle United confirmed matches to end of February 2024:

Monday 1 January 2024 – Liverpool v Newcastle (8pm) Sky Sports

Saturday 6 January 2024 – Sunderland v Newcastle (12.45pm) ITV

Saturday 13 January 2024 – Newcastle v Man City (5.30pm) TNT Sports

Tuesday 30 January 2024 – Aston Villa v Newcastle (8.15pm) TNT Sports

Saturday 3 February 2024 – Newcastle v Luton (3pm)

Saturday 10 February 2024 – Forest v Newcastle (5.30pm) Sky Sports

Saturday 17 February 2024 – Newcastle v Bournemouth (3pm)

Saturday 24 February 2024 – Arsenal v Newcastle (8pm) TNT Sports

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