Expected Goals explained:
Football fans know that a player has a better chance of scoring with a shot from the edge of the six-yard box than a shot from 30+ yards, but on the stats sheet after a game, both are viewed equally in the ‘shots’ column. Infogol’s Expected Goals (xG) is a statistical metric which assesses every chance created during a game, assigning a likelihood of each individual chance being scored. For more details shoot over to Infogol’s Expected Goals introduction.
Chelsea deservedly got their first win of the season against Norwich last weekend – thanks to a much better all-round performance from Frank Lampard’s side (xG: NOR 0.97 – 2.03 CHE). They conceded few chances in that game, an improvement on what we saw against both Manchester United and Leicester, albeit against lesser opposition.
That bodes well here as they face another of the newly-promoted sides, and a similar performance should yield another three points, as Sheffield United will struggle to contain Chelsea’s vibrant attacking play (1.43 xGF per game). Chris Wilder’s side have made a good start to the season and come into this game level on points with Chelsea after a win, a draw and a defeat in their opening three matches.
The Blades were beaten by Leicester last weekend, the first tough test that they have had and although they did struggle to create good chances, they didn’t concede many either (0.71 xGA).
The visitors will be a tough nut to crack here, but Chelsea have the ability to break them down. Chelsea are long odds on and should win – but the value play is to back ‘No’ in the both teams to score category. Infogol calculate a 57% (3/4) chance of one or both teams not scoring.
Selection: BTTS ‘No’ @ 20/23
Newcastle got a shock win away at Tottenham last weekend to get their season up and running, bouncing back from successive defeats against Arsenal and Norwich.
While they were fortunate to get the win in that game (xG: TOT 1.24 – 0.81 NEW), they deserve credit for limiting Tottenham to few chances in what was a ‘backs-against-the-wall’ type performance.
Allan Saint-Maximin went off injured early in that game, but was replaced by Christian Atsu who impressed and assisted a first goal for Joelinton, showing the attacking depth Newcastle do have. Defensively, they remain vulnerable and have conceded good chances in all three of their matches so far, which isn’t expected to change here (1.46 xGA per game).
Watford prop up the table at this early stage after starting the campaign with three straight defeats, the latest of which came at the hands of West Ham last Saturday.
It was a game that showcased everything good about Watford (attack), and everything bad (defence), as they continue to be an exciting attacking team, but a very poor defensive unit (xG: WAT 2.31 – 3.90 WHU).
More of the same is expected here, with the Infogol calculating a 57% chance of both teams scoring (equates to around 3/4), so the 4/5 on offer represents good value.
Selection: BTTS ‘Yes’ @ 4/5
West Ham got their first win of the season at Watford last weekend, and it was a deserved success according to expected goals, as the Hammers generated the better scoring chances (xG: WAT 2.31 – 3.90 WHU). That was the best attacking performance of the season so far in the Premier League – according to xG – as an attacking selection paid off for Manuel Pellegrini, who fielded a front four of Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson and Sébastien Haller.
Haller got his first goals for West Ham, and will be looking to add to his tally in this game which is likely, but West Ham’s defensive process is still a huge cause for concern (2.60 xGA per game), which needs addressing.
Norwich were deservedly beaten by Chelsea last weekend, in another game which they conceded good chances, but another game in which Teemu Pukki found the net.
The Finn has been one of the standout players in the Premier League so far this season, and has notched five times already, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him add to his tally again here against a leaky West Ham defence.
Daniel Farke’s side play with a clear identity and structure which will benefit them in the long run, but they are currently conceding too many chances in matches, which could hurt them in the short term (1.71 xGA per game).
An entertaining game is expected here, with plenty of goals between two poor defences and two strong attacking sides. West Ham possess more of a threat than Norwich, so are taken to edge a high-scoring game. Infogol suggest there is good value in backing the Hammers (54% – 17/20).
Selection: West Ham to win @ 5/6
*This treble pays 5/1 at the prices which are correct at time of publishing but can change.