Manchester City are Infogol’s favourites to win the 20/21 Premier League title after Pep Guardiola’s side posted incredible underlying numbers last season, being unfortunate to finish so far behind winners Liverpool.
They boasted a process of 2.7 xGF and 1.1 xGA per game, and if they maintain that level, they will win plenty more matches this season than last. The additions of Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake are solid, and we give Pep Guardiola’s side a 47.8% chance of regaining their crown.
Reigning champions Liverpool should again go close to another title, despite posting inferior underlying numbers last season than Manchester City.
The Reds have found a way of defying a basic xG model, but when we look at the quality of on-target attempts faced, Jurgen Klopp’s side do well in reducing the chance of those attempts being scored.
Liverpool also play in second gear through most matches, as opposed to Manchester City’s ‘go for the kill’ mentality, and we make them 38.9% to retain the title.
The gap between the top two and the rest is a big one, with the rest of the league having only a 13.3% chance of winning the Premier League title.
Manchester United stand at 6.5% to win the league, but their improvements in results over the back end of the season was hugely encouraging, even if their underlying process remained consistent throughout the campaign.
A settled team is a huge plus, and the addition of Donny van de Beek is a good one, but they need to add more to challenge for the big prize, though we give them a strong 74.6% chance of making the top four again.
The busiest team in the transfer window so far, Chelsea have made some impressive signings, notably German duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Frank Lampard’s side posted an underlying process (2.01 xGF, 1.2 xGA per game) not too dissimilar to champions Liverpool last season, and the continuance of this process would likely yield a smoother ride to a top four finish.
Only a lack of clinical finishing (69 goals, 78.3 xGF) and a leaky defence (54 goals conceded, 45.9 xGA) meant the Blues were left to sweat, and the additions should fix this – though a goalkeeper is needed. They finish in the top four 71.2% of the time.
Wolves were excellent once again last season, finishing seventh for the second straight campaign since their return to the top flight. However, they have ranked 5th in our xG table on both occasions.
That level of consistency is extraordinary and makes it highly likely that Nuno’s side will be able to replicate a similar level this season.
Losing Matt Doherty could be seen as a negative, but I see it as good business, while the acquisition of Fabio Silva could be a standout signing.
They have no European football to distract them this term, and we make them the fifth-best team in the league with a 63.4% chance of finishing in the top six.
Tottenham finished last season strongly to climb into the top six, but the results flattered them down the stretch, as they were relying on their own clinical finishing and a lack of it from their opponents.
Since Jose Mourinho’s appointment, Spurs have ranked as the 10th best team in the league based on xG, posting a negative process (1.4 xGF, 1.5 xGA per game), so they have huge improvements to make.
Having Harry Kane fit from the start of the season is a huge plus, and the signings of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Matt Doherty will make them more robust, but we don’t see them challenging for the top four (12.9%), while a top-six spot will likely come down to themselves and their North London rivals.
Arsenal also finished the season strongly under Mikel Arteta and won the FA Cup and Community Shield, so appear to be in a good place, though I will point out that those cup competitions do suit the way this team sets up.
The Gunners under Arteta in the Premier League ranked 13th in our xG table, with the sixth worse process (1.3 xGF, 1.7 xGA per game), so their results have flattered them greatly.
Like Spurs, they have been heavily reliant on clinical finishing – mainly from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – and poor finishing from their opposition, and that isn’t a sustainable way of playing.
We rate Arsenal and Tottenham very evenly, shown by the fact that we give the Gunners a 42.7% chance of finishing in the top six, and Spurs a 41.8% chance.
Leicester were agonisingly close to securing a top four berth last season, but fell apart down the home stretch, and rightly ended up in a Europa League spot having ranked 6th on xG all season.
Their drop off from the first half of the season to the second half was shocking and hugely worrying, and this season they have European football to contend with also, so their chances of replicating their top six finish are at 25.1% based on our model.
Everton were a strange team last season, even more so after Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment.
They were sensational based on results and xG from the moment he was put in charge up until the enforced break, showing capabilities of a top six contender. But, post-break they were shocking, playing like a bottom half side.
Signings of Abdoulaye Doucouré, Allan and James Rodriguez strengthen a problem area for the Toffees, but they have to show more consistency if they are to push for the top six
Southampton were the team who finished last season in eye-catching fashion, from both a results and underlying number perspective, as post break they ranked as the fourth best team in the league.
Ralph Hasenhuttl had his side fit and firing in those final nine matches, and that should again be the case this term, as the Saints steer well clear of relegation once again.
It seems as though Burnley are being severely underrated again this season, with many people forgetting that they lost only twice over the last 16 games of the 19/20 season.
Their process was extremely promising once again, even post-break with a depleted squad, and if they maintain that same level of process then it should be another comfortable Premier League campaign for Sean Dyche’s side. We give them just a 12.3% chance of going down.
David Moyes deserves credit for the way his West Ham side pulled clear of relegation post-break, winning key six-pointers and improving their underlying process drastically.
They came back from the enforced break and performed as the sixth best team according to xG, led by the red-hot Michail Antonio.
More of the same this season would see them survive comfortably this time around. They have a 13.8% chance of going down on our model.
Leeds made a long awaited return to the top tier after winning the Championship last season, and they did it in emphatic style from an underlying number stand point.
Their xGD of +48.6 was streets clear of every other team, and their team were even more dominant than Wolves in 17/18 (+35.1 xGD), which bodes incredibly well given what Wolves have achieved in the last few years.
The signings of Rodrigo Moreno and Robin Koch are eye-catching, and the Infogol model makes them more likely to finish in the top half (24.8%) than be relegated (18.1%).
Chris Wilder did an amazing job last season in securing a top half finish, though we don’t think the Blades will be able to replicate that this time around.
They were trending in a negative direction towards the back end of the campaign, and this season will be a much tougher test now all the teams know what they are about.
Sheffield United should still have enough to secure another season in the league though (20.3% chance of relegation).
Brighton were a team that Infogol really liked last season, as their year-on-year improvement from Chris Hughton to Graham Potter was excellent from an xG perspective, and from a style of play point of view.
Many have the Seagulls as relegation candidates again, quoting a lack of business as a reason, but if they maintain their same level of process from last season, they will again survive the drop (23.8% chance of relegation).
Crystal Palace were the worst finishers of the 19/20 season – bar Norwich – losing seven of their last eight.
However, a closer inspection of those fixtures suggests that they wouldn’t have been expected to get much from them, playing six of the eventual top seven in those final eight.
Nonetheless, they will be looking over their shoulders this season unless improvements are made offensively, with the Eagles posting the second worst xGF in the league (39.3 xGF) to go along with scoring just 31 times in 38 games.
Roy Hodgson has a job on his hands, but they have a solid defensive structure that should stand them in good stead if they are in a relegation scrap. We give them a 29.6% chance of dropping into the second tier.
Steve Bruce guided his Newcastle side to a comfortable finish, but based on expected goals, they were the worst team in the Premier League, even worse than Norwich.
A major improvement in process is needed if they are to avoid the drop again this term, as it is unlikely that they will get the fortune of last season.
Signings of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are promising, and definitely improve their attack, but it will all depend on the approach Bruce takes. We give them a 36.7% chance of going down.
Aston Villa pulled off a remarkable escape by picking up eight points from their final four league games having sat in the bottom three for 55% of the 19/20 season.
Dean Smith transformed his Villa defence, as they went into the break allowing an average of 2.4 xGA per game, but came back looking like a different team, allowing just 1.0 xGA per game.
If they are to survive again, Villa need to maintain a similar defensive process, but their attacking numbers over the course of the season were a concern.
It will be touch and go, as we don’t have much between themselves and Newcastle, as we give them a 37.7% chance of going down.
West Brom hung on to the second automatic promotion spot last season, and they were one of three teams – along with Leeds and Brentford – who were performing at a different level to the rest of the league, based on xG.
Slaven Bilic is back in the Premier League, but his squad has remained the same, and the model doesn’t think that the current squad at West Brom will be enough to keep them up.
We give them a 43.5% chance of going straight back to the Championship.
Fulham gained promotion through the play-offs last season, but were fortunate to even finish in the top six last season according to xG, sitting seventh in our xG table.
They were a way behind Leeds (+48.6 xGD) and West Brom (+22.6) in terms of xGD, putting up just +6.1 themselves, so they have the bigger gap to bridge this season.
We make them the most likely team to be relegated this season, giving them a 44.7% chance of dropping back into the second tier.
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