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.
Here’s three best bets our Analyst has come up with using the xG model.
Aston Villa suffered a 3-1 defeat away to Tottenham on their return to the Premier League last weekend, and rightly so according to expected goals (xG: TOT 2.93 – 0.64 AVL). Dean Smith’s men showed some potential in the first half but there were worrying signs from the defence, who struggled to stop their opponents creating good chances.
Bournemouth drew 1-1 in their opener with Sheffield United with an 88th minute equaliser from Billy Sharp denying them the three points. Eddie Howe’s side missed the creativity of David Brooks and struggled to create good chances (xG: BOU 1.31 – 1.73 SHU), with the majority of their total xG coming from the same attack that led to Chris Mepham’s goal.
One issue Bournemouth might have had last weekend was that they matched Sheffield United’s formation, opting to play three at the back, which was a change from what we are use to seeing from them. Their fortunes could turn around here if they revert to their tried and tested 4-4-2 formation, with Harry Wilson coming in as the other winger. There is room for improvement from the Cherries despite still missing Brooks. With Aston Villa’s suspect defence, the Infogol model thinks Bournemouth represent good value to win.
Selection: Bournemouth to win @ 15/8
Brighton got their Premier League season off to a perfect start, beating Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road in Graham Potter’s first game in charge (xG: WAT 0.65 – 1.06 BRI).
The final scoreline may have flattered the Seagulls, but they were very impressive defensively, limiting an offensively talented Watford side to just 0.65 xG, with no clear-cut chances given up.
West Ham however, were on the end of a heavy 5-0 opening day defeat at home to Manchester City – a deserved loss according to xG, as they gave up a host of chances (xG: WHU 1.34 – 3.07 MCI).
Although they did cause the reigning champions some problems – Manuel Pellegrini’s men will look to keep it a bit tighter at the back as they search for their first points of the new season.
A tight game is expected with Brighton looking to consolidate their opening-day victory and West Ham wanting to recover from a heavy defeat.
Selection: Under 2.5 Goals @ 17/20
The Saints lost 3-0 to Burnley in their opening game, though were unfortunate to suffer such a heavy defeat as they created the better of chances in the game (xG: BUR 1.02 – 1.19 SOU). New signing Che Adams missed the Saints’ only big chance of the game in the second minute (52%), but they looked a lot more threatening at home last season, and can be expected to put up a bold showing against the Champions League winners.
Liverpool renewed their Premier League title challenge with a 4-1 victory over newly-promoted Norwich, but they were slightly flattered by the final score. Their overall performance didn’t reflect the end result (xG: LIV 2.05 – 0.88 NOR). Jürgen Klopp’s side do look dangerous in attack again, but Norwich caused them plenty of problems at the back, as did Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup in midweek. This trip to St Mary’s may be a tough one.
Although he was the hero for saving a penalty in Liverpool’s UEFA Super Cup win, Adrián is a huge downgrade on the injured Alisson, and with Liverpool looking shaky at the back so far this season, an entertaining game is expected.
The Infogol model thinks backing both teams to score represents good value in this match-up.
Selection: Both teams to score at 8/11
- Bournemouth to beat Aston Villa @ 15/8
Under 2.5 Goals in Brighton vs West Ham @ 17/20
Both teams to score in Southampton vs Liverpool @ 8/11
*A treble currently pays about 8/1 at these prices which are correct at time of publishing