In case you are unfamiliar with expected goals (xG), in layman terms it is a better stat than ‘shots’ for example, as it takes into account many different variables to quantify how good a chance was. So a one-on-one has a higher expected goals xG than a 30-yard pot-shot for example.
So it actually provides a better insight into the quality of chances a team creates, and in terms of Bournemouth (below), as an example, their xG recently shows that they have the capabilities to carve out good scoring opportunities.
So here goes ..
Bournemouth vs Tottenham, 12.30 Live on Sky Sports main event
Bournemouth haven’t had the best second half of the season, and come into this game with just one win in six matches – but that shouldn’t discourage Cherries fans.
Their performances have improved of late, especially in attack, averaging 1.83 xG per game in their last six.
All of their last three matches have seen them generate more than two xG, which is impressive. It shows that they have the capability to hurt this frail Tottenham side who lost 1-0 to West Ham last weekend.
A first-leg home defeat to Ajax on Tuesday mean Spurs have lost six of their last 10 matches in all competitions, including four from seven in the Premier League. Their only victories in that time have come at home, and they have lost their last five away matches in the league – nearly as bad as Arsenal.
This game is priced up interestingly as not only are Spurs playing poorly, it comes right in-between their two Champions League semi final matches against Ajax.
Given the lack of squad depth and the need to rest players, Spurs are well worth opposing here. The Infogol model make Bournemouth favourites to win the game, so they look great value at the prices.
Selection: Bournemouth @ 11/4
Cardiff vs Crystal Palace, Sat, 17:30 Live on BT Sport
Cardiff’s defeat to Fulham looks to be the final nail in their coffin, but Neil Warnock will have his side fighting for survival until it is mathematically impossible for them to stay up.
They are four points behind Brighton with an inferior goal difference, and eight defeats in their last 10 Premier League games is a fair representation of how poorly they have been playing, conceding an average of 1.88 xGA per game.
Crystal Palace held Everton to a goalless draw last time but were fortunate to do so according to expected goals (xG: CRY 0.37 – 1.46 EVE), even if they did limit Everton to ‘low-probability’ chances. The good news for Palace fans is that this game is away from home, as Roy Hodgson’s side have won four of their last five on the road.
There looks to be some value in backing the visitors to win here and relegate their Welsh opponents.
Selection: Crystal Palace to win @ 13/8
Newcastle vs Liverpool, Sat, 19:45, Sky Sports Main Event
Newcastle have become a really awkward team to play against in the second half of the season, losing just three of their last eight league games – even if their 1-1 draw with Brighton last weekend was a touch fortunate.
Benítez’s side create few chances and average just 1.09 xGF per game – making them the third worst attacking team in the league. Despite being safe, Infogol rate them as the second worst team in the league. Improvements are need next season especially if they fail to keep Benítez.
Liverpool on the other hand saw a 10-game winning streak brought to an abrupt end by Barcelona 3-0 in mid-week, though were very unfortunate not to score an away goal, having carved out some decent chances.
With Champions League advancement unlikely and the league title out of their hands, all Liverpool can do though is put the pressure back on Manchester City – who play Leicester on Monday – by winning again here.
If their recent league performances are anything to go by, then that is highly likely.
In their last seven league games, Liverpool have averaged 2.35 xGF (goals for) per game and allowed just 0.88 xGA (goals against) per game. If they maintain this level of process, they should have no issues here.
The Reds are fully expected to win here, Infogol giving them a 68 per chance of victory. Given how strong Liverpool are defensively and how poor Newcastle’s attacking process is, the Reds to win to nil is the selection.
Selection: Liverpool to win to nil @ 6/5
*The three selections pays just over 19/1 at prices published which are subject to change
- Bournemouth to beat Tottenham @ 11/4
Crystal Palace to beat Cardiff @ 13/8
Liverpool to win to nil against Newcastle @ 11/10