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.
Burnley picked up another thumping win at the weekend, running riot in a second successive 3-0 win, this time against Watford, as Sean Dyche’s side moved up to seventh in the Premier League table.
That result was nothing less than they deserved according to expected goals (xG: WAT 1.01 – 3.20 BUR), and it was the same score in their last home game against West Ham (xG: BUR 2.28 – 0.47 WHU), so this is a team that is really purring.
Sean Dyche’s side rank as the seventh-best team in the league on xG, and are now a real force in the Premier League, being a long way past the ‘boring, defensive Burnley’ image, and now posing a real attacking threat (1.55 xGF per game).
Here are a few stats that will hugely surprise you; only Manchester City and Chelsea have created more non-penalty big chances than Burnley this season, and only Leicester have conceded fewer.
While everything is rosy in the Burnley garden, it looks pretty miserable at Palace.
Don’t let anyone tell you that Palace were unlucky to lose to Liverpool last weekend, as although it was a late goal that secured the points, it was a fully deserved defeat based on the quality of chances created (xG: CRY 1.18 – 1.87 LIV).
They rank as the second-worst attacking team in the league on xGF/game (1.11) and are dead last when it comes to non-penalty big chances created (35% or greater), creating just 8 in 13 games.
Defensively they aren’t much better, allowing 1.86 xGA per game and allowing the second-most non-pen big chances (25), better than only West Ham.
Infogol calculates a huge amount of value in backing Burnley to beat a struggling Crystal Palace side at Turf Moor, with the Clarets on offer at 6/5.
Chelsea’s six-game winning streak came to an end at the Etihad last weekend, but it was another game in which I was impressed with Chelsea, as they held onto Manchester City where other teams would have let them pull clear.
They rightly sit in the top four at this stage of the season according to xG, showing that their hot start is no fluke, and their process is strong (2.05 xGF, 1.29 xGA) so they are expected to maintain their current place.
The only issue Frank Lampard’s side have had throughout this season has come in defence, as they have kept only three clean sheets in 13 league games, and only limited sides to less than 1 xG on four occasions, so they always give opponents chances.
What’s going on at West Ham? And just how long has Manuel Pellegrini got left?
The Hammers got off to a hot start, but they were hugely fortunate with that start, as performances were extremely poor.
What we are no seeing is that their performances remain poor, but they are getting the results they now deserve, which have mainly been defeats, five in their last six to be precise.
Pellegrini’s side rank as the third-worst team in the league this season on xG, with the second-worst xGA per game (2.09), and the most non-pen big chances conceded (30), with defensive issues of last season seemingly unsolved.
Chelsea will score against this West Ham defence, and I think West Ham will get a consolation in a heavy defeat. Both teams to score is the selection in this one.
It has been a fairly interesting, and entertaining, start to José Mourinho’s Tottenham career, something few would have expected, with the two games seeing 11 goals.
Their win against West Ham was a fantastic performance in which they were utterly dominant (xG: WHU 0.74 – 2.35 TOT), and the 3-2 scoreline flattered the hosts.
Spurs were also impressive in their come-from-behind win over Olympiakos in midweek (xG: TOT 2.56 – 1.05 OLY), rightly getting the three points needed to ensure qualification.
In only a small sample size, the early signs are that Mourinho has got Spurs on the right track in an attacking sense, as they have created good chances in both games, but there remain defensive question marks which need addressing.
Bournemouth come into this game on the back of a home defeat to Wolves, meaning they have now won just one of their last seven Premier League matches, as they dropped to 11th.
They sit 14th in our xG table, with a below-par process (1.45 xGF, 1.75 xGA per game) showing that they remain vulnerable defensively, but do pose an attacking threat – which is what we have come to expect.
Away from home, their defensive process takes a huge jump up to 2.03 xGA per game, so they are much worse on the road, as they proved in their last away game against the worst attacking team in the league, so are likely to be picked off by Spurs here.
Both teams to score looks a solid bet here, with Infogol calculating value even at a short price.