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.
Things were looking up for Villa after a much-improved defensive display against West Ham (xG: AST 1.37 – 0.61 WHU), only for them to allow 10-man Arsenal to create 2.91 xG and beat them 3-2 last Sunday.
Villa need to tighten things up, and fast, if they are to survive this season, as their current process is that of a team likely to get relegated (1.19 xGF, 1.87 xGA per game).
Burnley picked up their first win since the opening day of the season last weekend, beating Norwich 2-0 in what was an impressive and comfortable display (xG: BUR 2.11 – 0.91 NOR).
A look at Sean Dyche’s sides results would suggest his team have blown hot and cold over the first six games, but a closer look would suggest they have been steady throughout. It’s worth pointing out that their two defeats have come against Arsenal and Liverpool.
Burnley have the process of a mid-table team, creating and allowing an average of 1.27 xG per game.
It is a huge surprise to see them as second favourites for this game.
Aston Villa are favs but Infogol suggest Burnley have a 37% (17/10) chance of winning it, so the 2/1 available is good value.
Verdict: Burnley to win @ 2/1.
Mauricio Pochettino saw his side lose again last weekend, this time to Leicester. While the result was unfair (we calculated they deserved a draw (xG: LEI 1.27 – 1.29 TOT), something is definitely missing.
Tottenham’s best display according to xG came in their season opener against Aston Villa, but since then Spurs are nowhere near the 2.93 xGF they created that day. However, they have played Man City, Arsenal and Leicester away in their opening six matches and should be able to haul themselves up the table, with three easier fixtures ahead.
The Saints meanwhile have been one of the unluckier teams this season according to xG. That was proven against Bournemouth last Friday where they created good chances, but Eddie Howe’s side were extremely clinical with their finishing (xG: SOU 2.63 – 1.29 BOU).
Southampton create plenty of chances regularly (1.80 xGF per game), rank as the sixth best team in the league and shouldn’t be taken lightly. They’ve already performed extremely well against Liverpool in an unfortunate defeat (xG: SOU 2.64 – 1.46 LIV), and taken a point off Manchester United.
They’ve every chance of causing an upset here.
Infogol suggests that Spurs are too short in the betting at 2/5 (71%) , with the model suggesting they should be priced closer to 9/10 (53%). I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Southampton or draw at 9/5 – if you want a bet in the win-draw-win market.
However, the best bet in this match is to back both teams to score.
Both offer an attacking threat but also look vulnerable defensively. We calculate a 59% (7/10) chance of both hitting the net so the 3/4 (57%) on offer is slight value.
Verdict: Back Both teams to score @ 3/4.
These are the only two sides yet to register a Premier League win this season.
Wolves have been very unfortunate with their heavy fixture load, combining Premier League with Europa League qualifiers, and now group stage matches and this is Nuno Espírito Santo’s side’s 14th game of the season. Having played Leicester, Man United, Everton and Chelsea in their first six games – they deserve a break.
Wolves have ranked as the 12th best team according to xG, with a solid underlying process, and have been unfortunate not to win two of their last three games according to xG (xG: EVE 1.54 – 2.14 WOL and xG: CRY 1.12 – 1.84 WOL).
Watford were humiliated by Man City last weekend, a horrifying display after some brief optimism following the 2-2 draw at Arsenal. Even before that mauling, Watford’s defensive process was poor (1.61 xGA per game). The same issues remain and will need to be rectified if they are to avoid an unexpected relegation.
While they pose an attacking threat, Watford’s defensive short-comings are too great to ignore and Wolves will cause them problems in what is a must-win game for both.
Wolves are priced up at 5/6 (54%) to win and that’s a decent bit of value, with the probabilities suggesting Wolves should be priced up closer to 8/11 (58%).
Verdict: Back Wolves to win @ 5/6
*Prices correct at time of publishing