This is the second part in a series of posts offering insights to different topics for the 19/20 Premier League season. Previously, I considered VAR (see post below).
Here I’ll consider expected goals in each of the 380 matches. While most have become familiar with Xg’s – it is even used on Match of the Day now – for those that are unacquainted with the concept this is a measure that evaluates a team’s efforts on goal relative to the difficulty of the chance created. Lots of information on a given shot (player positioning, distance from goal, angles, body-part used etc.) is plugged into a statistical model which, in turn, produces the xG stat. A high xG for a team generally transfers to more dangerous chance creation. It might be considered a measure of threat or maybe a means to capture the ‘entertainment value’ of a match.
The match with the highest Xg this season was Manchester City vs. Watford. The home team won 8-0. Unsurprisingly, this high Xg was largely caused by City’s excellent performance. Watford were actually involved in the three matches with the highest Xg’s. A neutral fan would have been well entertained if they followed the Hornets.
At the other end of the distribution is (boring, boring) Bournemouth. They were involved in the three the matches with the lowest Xg’s this season. They didn’t score in any of these three games and were beaten 1-0 on all occasions. The Cherries goals drying up is probably the main reason for their demise. Indeed Burnley’s’ 1-0 win at the Vitality stadium just before Christmas could be considered the least entertaining match of the season, although a goal was scored. Even at that Jay Rodriguez left it late (89th minute winner).