Expected Goals recap
Many football fans will already 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, these two shots are viewed equally in the ‘shots’ column. Infogol’s Expected Goals is a statistical metric which assesses every chance created during a football match, assigning a probability or likelihood of each individual chance being scored.
The higher the xG (1.0 being the maximum), the more likely the opportunity of being taken. So if the xG is 0.3, the chance should be scored 30% of the time. A penalty has an xG of 0.76. (76%).
Want more details? Shoot over to Infogol’s Expected Goals Introduction.
City’s title win was fully deserved last season – as they won their last 14 games to prevail by a single point. They were the best attacking and defensive team in the league according to xG, with a massive expected goal difference (xGD) per game of 1.64.
Pep Guardiola’s men look unbeatable heading into the 2019/20 season.
Defensive midfielder, Rodri, arrives from Atletico Madrid to support an aging Fernandinho, but apart from that, the squad largely remains the same. Raheem Sterling enjoyed the best season, while Sergio Agüero scored 21 goals (from 19.33 xG) for the season, finishing just one behind the top goalscorers.
The Infogol predicts City will be crowned as Premier League champions for the third year in a row, rating their chances of winning the title at a massive 85%. And it’s hard to argue with that.
The Reds managed to push a phenomenal Manchester City team to the last game, but just missed out, despite losing only one league game last season.
That defeat was away to City and Jürgen Klopp’s side were miles clear of the rest of the league, averaging 2.05 xGF per game and 0.90 xGA per game. Liverpool were led by Mohamed Salah, who scored 22 goals last term from chances equating to 20.5 xG, and he ended the season alongside teammate Sadio Mané and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as joint top scorer in the Premier League.
Salah and Mané returned late to pre-season after another busy summer in the Africa Cup of Nations, but need to be at 100% from the start if they are to challenge this all-conquering City team. Virgil van Dijk scooped the PFA Player of the Year after an exceptional season, and they will be a very hard team to beat again this season.
After finishing last season dismally, Spurs were fortunate to finish in fourth place, as they were only the sixth best team according to xG. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were lucky in both attack and defence last season, scoring seven more goals than expected, while conceding 12 fewer than would be expected, based on the quality of chances they faced.
The signing of Tanguy Ndombele will bolster a midfield that suffered badly with injuries last season, but Spurs will miss Kieran Trippier’s attacking output (second only to Christian Eriksen in xAssists last season) as he pitches up at Atlético Madrid.
Trippier needs replacing.
Spurs need to improve but a return to their 1917/18 form would see them secure a top four finish without breaking a sweat.
The Infogol model sees this as a big possibility and Spurs are definite top 4 material.
Despite a mid-season slump, Chelsea ended last season in third place, which was a fair reflection of their performances.
There’s been wholesale changes this summer, with manager Maurizio Sarri moving to Juventus, Eden Hazard finally getting his dream move to Real Madrid, and Chelsea being unable to sign players due to a transfer ban.
Frank Lampard has replaced Sarri as manager, but has a tough task on his hands maintaining Chelsea’s place in the top four, especially with the younger players he must rely on this season. The Blues all-time top-scorer is still unproven as a manager, with his Derby side were far from impressive last season (13th in Championship xG table).
Lampard’s objectives are hard to gauge, with European football from a top six finish the minimum requirement. The loss of Eden Hazard is massive, as the Belgian was involved in 34% of Chelsea’s xG last season.
Chelsea were the fourth best attacking team in the Premier League last season according to expected goals forecast (64.65 xGF).
With all the changes at the club, it’s hard to see how they can match that in the upcoming campaign.
However, Infogol’s model does give them a 38% chance of retaining a place in the top four next season where Paddy are offering 13/10.
Another turbulent season at Old Trafford, with United finishing sixth after a poor end to the campaign. The good news for United fans though is that according to xG, they were unlucky to miss out on the top four.
Solskjær oversaw an improvement in both results and underlying process after he took over from Mourinho, particularly in defence, where United were a much better (1.29 xGA per game) than the Portuguese. (1.60 xGA per game).
The recent signings of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James bode well for the future, but it remains to be seen if they will make an immediate impact this season.
There’s doubts over Romelu Lukaku remaining and that may heap more pressure on Marcus Rashford up front.
With improvement, the Red Devils have a great chance of finishing in the top four this season, and the Infogol model gives them a 35% chance of doing so – just shy of Chelsea’s chances.
Unsurprisingly, Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification last season, as they were only ranked as the ninth best team in the league, according to our expected goals (xG) model.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a vital part of an attack that overachieved last season, relying on clinical finishing to score 73 goals from just 62.3 xGF. Aubameyang was joint top scorer alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané with 22 goals and averaged a league-leading 0.69 xG/90.
The Gunners broke the bank for Nicolas Pepe, while Dani Ceballos could prove to be a shrewd signing on-loan from Real Madrid.
But Arsenal’s defence continues to be their Achilles heel.
Other than signing 18-year-old centre-back, William Saliba, and sending him back on-loan, there has been little in defensive reinforcements. As a result, the Infogol model sees them settling for Europa League football once again, giving them just a 22% chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Wolves were hugely impressive in their first season back in the Premier League, finishing seventh to qualify for the Europa League. They were unfortunate not to finish higher according to xG, ranking as the fifth best team in our model.
Diogo Jota and Raúl Jiménez’s partnership sparked a tremendous season for Nuno Espírito Santo’s men.
If they can carry on that form, they could launch their team into the top six of the Premier League.
However, Wolves will have the Europa League to contend with and need to add to their small squad if they expect to challenge in multiple competitions next season. They’ll look to mix it with the best and the Infogol model gives them a good chance of pushing the so called ‘big six’ close again this season and are 4/1 with PP to finish in the top 6.
After struggling under Claude Puel, Leicester improved vastly after Brendan Rodgers replaced the Frenchman, with their style of play much more eye-catching, and their underlying numbers improving also.
The Foxes have made Youri Tieleman’s loan move permanent and added Ayoze Pérez in a £30 million move, who averaged an impressive 0.33 xGI/90 last season in a Newcastle side that struggled to create chances.
The appointment of Brendan Rodgers is great news for star-man Jamie Vardy, as he should get more chances in a much more attack-minded side.
Leicester’s process last season was very strong, which is a good sign heading into this new campaign, and if they can pick up where they left off, they have a good chance of finishing much higher than last season. The Infogol model suggests that the gap between the ‘big six’ and three of the chasing pack isn’t as big as in previous seasons.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Leicester kicking on this season, with the model giving them a 43% chance of a top-six finish for which they are 7/2 with PP.
Everton had a solid season despite a slow start, although there are plenty of areas for improvements for the Toffees, especially in defence. The Toffees have brought in Fabian Delph as replacement and signed Andre Gomes from Barcelona on a permanent basis after a successful loan spell, but more players are needed.
Marco Silva’s team were heavily reliant on the creativity of Gylfi Sigurdsson last season and the Iceland international was Everton’s standout. They can carry that form into the new season, with the Infogol model giving them a chance of breaking into the top six at 10/3. But they’ll need to start quicker.
Bournemouth were unfortunate not to have finished higher than 14th last season where Eddie Howe presided over another steady campaign, in which they comfortably steered clear of relegation, but there remain question marks about the Cherries defensively.
Ryan Fraser looks to be staying at the and was by far their most creative player last season. Fraser led the team comfortably in expected assists (xA) last season (14.79 xA), more than double the amount of anyone else in the squad, and his link-up with Callum Wilson will be key again this season.
The Cherries look to have strengthened defensively in the summer, and if they maintain their level from 2018/19, Bournemouth can expect another safe mid-table finish, with the Infogol model giving them a very slim chance of being relegated (2%).
*Prices correct at time of publishing