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.
In a week where Mauricio Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham and replaced by José Mourinho, many Arsenal fans must be wondering what Unai Emery has to do to be the next man to go.
I am anyway, as what we have seen from Arsenal this season in terms of results, performances and expected goals has been almost as bad as Tottenham.
The Gunners are not generating the amount of quality chances we would expect from an offence with such talented players (1.48 xGF per game), and defensively they continue to show no signs of improvement (1.63 xGA), so it is hard to believe that this Arsenal team with this manager will be able to close the gap on the top four, which currently stands at eight points.
Southampton are a team in trouble, and come into this game second-bottom of the table and on the back of six defeats in seven matches, conceding 23 times in those games.
It is worth pointing out though, that their last six games all came against teams that finished in the top eight of Infogol’s xG table last season.
They will create chances and cause problems for Arsenal, and I can see yet another game in which Arsenal fail to keep a clean sheet, even against a struggling team.
Infogol calculates a small amount of value in backing Both Teams to Score at the Emirates, especially as they have managed just one clean sheet in six home games this season.
Bournemouth went into their last game against Newcastle full of confidence after keeping three successive clean sheets, but everything that Eddie Howe’s side had been doing well of late went out of the window in that game.
Newcastle – the worst attacking team in the league according to expected goals – managed to create chances equating to nearly 3 xG, as ‘leaky Bournemouth’ reared its ugly head again.
Over the course of the season, the Cherries have conceded an average of 1.77 xGA per game, showing that they continue to be extremely vulnerable at the back.
An in-form Wolves will be looking to take full advantage here, as Nuno Espírito Santo’s side are unbeaten in seven league games following an impressive 2-1 win over Aston Villa, where Wolves were more dominant than the final score suggested (xG: WOL 2.66 – 0.68 AST).
They have slowly been climbing the Premier League table, and Infogol’s xG table, where they now rank as the seventh-best team in the league, with a process (1.60 xGF, 1.38 xGA per game) that is trending towards the high levels they showed last season (18/19 – 1.54 xGF, 1.22 xGA).
Both Infogol and the bookies make Wolves favourites for this game, but Infogol thinks they should be slightly shorter than the 6/4 on offer, making the away win the value play.
This is a huge game for Everton and a must-win for Marco Silva.
They went into the international break on the back of a fully deserved 2-1 win at Southampton (xG: SOU 0.87 – 2.38 EVE), but they sit 15th in the table, and have a very tough schedule coming up.
After this game, they face Leicester (a), Liverpool (a), Chelsea (h), Manchester United (a) and Arsenal (h) as their next five league games… not the sort of schedule you want if you are already under pressure.
That run makes this game against bottom side Norwich must-win.
The Toffees have been one of the most unfortunate teams in the league this season based on xG, as while they sit 15th in the table, they rank as the 5th best team according to expected goals.
Recent home games against West Ham (xG: EVE 2.63 – 0.63 WHU) and Tottenham (xG: EVE 1.10 – 0.53 TOT) were good performances against better teams than Norwich, so I think this could prove to be a comfortable win for the hosts.
Norwich have gone into freefall since their surprise 3-2 win over Manchester City in gameweek five, losing six of their next seven, drawing the other.
Their process is the worst in the league (1.14 xGF, 2.29 xGA per game), with the attacking style and quality we saw earlier in the season seemingly vanishing, and their defensive frailties only getting worse.
Norwich have failed to score in six of their last nine Premier League games, and I think they will fail to do so again here, and backing Everton to win to nil represents a fair bit of value at a decent price.