I’m seeing more and more takes on the apparent ‘madness’ that is apparently taking place this season in the Premier League. Things are a little bit different, but not a whole lot.
Here are some examples of the adjustments based on carrying out a quick analysis of the first 58 matches (rather than the equivalent fixture).
The gap in expected goals (xG’s) between home and away teams has decreased. For example, after 58 matches last year Home team xG was 1.66 on average, while for the away team was 1.23. This season the average home xG has fallen to 1.35 while the average away xG has creeped about it, rising to 1.40.
Second, there are later goals going in this season but not too many extra. Last season after 58 matches there was 9 goals in the 90+ minute scored and 16 goals between the 80th and 90th minute. This season there has been 15 goals in 90+ minute and 23 between the 80th and 90th minute.
Third, in the first 58 matches of last season, 13 odds favourites were defeated. This raises to 16 this season. Again, hardly a huge jump.
That’s just a few examples of the small match level differences. The league table does look somewhat ‘unusual’ at the moment but this is not uncommon after only 5-6 game weeks. At this stage last season (with fans) we had seen plenty of 'madness' – Chelsea had won 5-2 at Wolves and Norwich had beaten the Champion’s Manchester City 2-1. Leicester’s famous 0-9 win was only a few weeks away.
The actual number of goals scored has increased and one is left wondering how much this is down to the application of the rules, stadia without fans and short pre-seasons.