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.
The higher the xG (1.0 being the maximum), the more likely the scoring chance. 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%).
With that in mind …
The Infogol model predicted City would win the title last year, but also forecast that they would win it from Liverpool, Man Utd would finish outside the top 4, Huddersfield would be relegated and Mo Salah would be top scorer. Not bad! Need some proof – it’s just a click away right here.
We’re not going to win any prizes for originality in our title race predictions again, but a winner’s a winner right? The Cityzens 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 side look unbeatable heading into the new season and can pull off the three-peat.
But there’s way more to our game than just tipping title winners.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Leicester kicking on this season under Brendan Rodgers. Their style of play is much more eye-catching and their underlying numbers improved 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.
If they can pick up where they left off, they have a good chance of finishing much higher than last season and a top-six finish for which they are 7/2 with PP looks a fair bet to keep you interested in the Foxes’ fortunes.
The Villains are going to give this Premier League business a shot having signed 10 players on permanent deals. Most of these are loan-deals made permanent from last season, but that should help – rather than hinder continuity – yes Fulham we’re looking at you.
However, we see them as the third-worst team in the Premier League at the moment and among the relegation favourites. They’re not too far behind other likely drop-down merchants like Brighton and Newcastle United, but there’s very little margin for error at the prices for the top tier’s newbies.
Which brings us nicely to the Seagulls. Brighton were the third-worst team in the Premier League last season and avoided the drop by the width of one of Shane Duffy’s whiskers. New manager Graham Potter has been drafted in to add a bit of va-va-voom to Brighton and impressed as Swansea boss last season with a free-flowing attacking style of play.
It could take the south-coast club a little while to adapt to his style of play – and the current crop mightn’t be able to adapt at all. Another long season beckons at the Amex Stadium.
The Gabonese forward averaged an impressive 0.69 xG/90 for Arsenal last season to share the Golden Boot with Liverpool team-mates Mo Slah and Sadio Mane.
It was pretty impressive strike-rate considering the contrasting fortunes of both clubs’ seasons and a measure of the quality chances Aubameyang gets when the Gunners’ are on their game. If P-E-A continues to get on the end of quality chances and remains injury free – he’ll go very close to reclaiming – or winning the Golden Boot outright. Arsenal are still crap in defence, mind.
A value-play who could see a little more game time than he’s been use to is Man City’s Brazilian starlet, Gabriel Jesus. The now 31-year-old Sergio Aguero may be used sparingly as City launch a four-trophy assault and Jesus’ underlying numbers last season were the best in the league, averaging 0.85 xG/90 in a very attack-minded City side.
He could be an interesting each-way runner at 25/1 with Paddy Power who are paying the first four places.
- Manchester City to win the league @ 4/9
- Leicester to finish in the Top 6 @ 7/2
- Aston Villa to be relegated @ 2/1
- Brighton to be relegated @ 15/8
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang top goalscorer @ 6/1
- Gabriel Jesus top goalscorer e/w @ 25/1 (4 places)
*Prices correct at time of publishing
Want more details? Shoot over to Infogol’s Expected Goals Introduction.