xG – the marmite statistic – some use it to decide their transfers, some just say xGo xF*** xYourself.
This article will take a look at some notable examples of over-performers and under-performers in the Premier League so far, potentially helping you find players who could be about to hit great form and to avoid players who have perhaps just been a bit fortunate recently.
With only two gameweeks of data, there aren’t too many obvious trends appearing yet. However, there are already some interesting highlights to cover. Remember, Willian got 3 assists on the opening day last year but only had an xA of 3.59 for the entire season! Stats like these certainly can help you spot freak occurrences such as this.
Penalties also greatly affect xG stats, as each penalty is given a score of 0.76. In some cases it is best to also look at non-penalty xG (NPxG), as we will see with Ings who isn’t a guaranteed penalty taker.
Traore – xG: 1.13 Goals: 0
This is perhaps not the most surprising inclusion; as literally every commentator loves pointing out every single match, it’s the ‘end product’ that has been lacking for Traore. I do agree to an extent, though I think he’s also often been let down by a blunt Wolves attacking force. I won’t go into that here though. This season, he’s at an xG of 1.13, with two 1-on-1s already fluffed to the dismay of Wolves fans (including myself). However, he has been almost unplayable – he is beating men with his usual ease and is receiving the ball in far more attacking positions than last season. At just 6.0m, he genuinely is a potential asset as Lage looks to turn this Wolves side into one that puts the ball in the net for fun.
Pogba – xG: 0.87 Goals: 0
There isn’t too much to go on here, but given Pogba’s quality, owners could feel aggrieved that he hasn’t put the ball in the net yet (though they can stop being greedy after his 5 assists so far from an xA of just 0.76!). 6 shots and 2 big chances have fallen to the Frenchman who’s played in a more attacking role than before so far (albeit likely due to Rashford and Sancho being injured/easing in).
Havertz – xG: 0.86 Goals: 0
Much the the same as with Pogba, Havertz is a quality player and could have got on the scoresheet having already had 4 shots and 2 big chances this season. With Lukaku looking like the real deal, this Chelsea attack is one to be feared and Havertz should get in on the action soon, whether it be goals, assists or both.
Ings – xG: 0.95 Goals: 2
I’m personally thrilled that Ings has out-performed so far, but I’m also very worried that this 8.1m pick has a NPxG of just 0.19 after 2 games… A penalty and an overhead kick means he has started life in many of ours teams prolifically. However, I’m concerned that Villa aren’t creating enough from open play for the sharp shooter.
Fernandes – xG: 1.25 Goals: 3
A straw that BruNOers can clutch at is that Fernandes was certainly ‘lucky’ to get a hattrick in GW1, with his goal tally almost treble that of his xG score. However, 6 shots, 2 big chances and 5 key passes show that Fernandes is doing what premium assets do, getting heavily involved in the action.
Greenwood – xG: 0.50 Goals: 2
Another player I am happy to own! Though he does have a very clinical finish on his day, Greenwood has out-performed his xG by a lot already, notching 2 goals when many players wouldn’t have scored any. Have owners been fortunate with Greenwood’s 2 goals so far? He has had 8 shots but 0 big chances, which suggests his shots aren’t coming from the best positions – it would be reassuring to see this xG higher after that many shots (averaging 0.06 per shot).
Wolves – xG: 2.8 Goals: 0
Given that so many of Wolves’ assets are cheap (e.g. Traore: 6.0m, Trincao 5.9m, Jimenez 7.4m), this stat is very promising indeed, especially given that Wolves’ fixtures turn greener than an Irish tourist shop soon. Some sloppy finishing after producing 42 shots in the first two weeks has let Wolves down, but this style of play suggests that goals could come easier than last year.
Burnley – xG: 2.4 Goals: 1
Burnley could have had a better start, with 4 big chances already in their first two gameweeks. 3 of these big chances fell to defenders (Tarkowski: 2, Mee: 1), suggesting that (maybe as expected) it is from set pieces that the physical Burnley players can do their damage. Tarkowski has had 5 shots already, the most of any Burnley player!
Arsenal – xG: 1.7 Goals: 0
Another team that has failed to score so far, Arsenal should have had at least one goal in their first two games. 28 shots but just 1 big chance suggest they’re struggling to create easier scoring opportunities. This will need to be addressed in their style of play before anyone in their team becomes an option.
Man United – xG: 4 Goals: 6
Due to Fernandes and Greenwood out-performing their stats, this accounts for the team as a whole out-performing it’s xG. Fred also scored from a shot with an xG of just 0.16. Man United’s attack is getting better and better and it is not unreasonable that they could stay ahead of their xG this season.
Aston Villa – xG: 2.1 Goals: 4
As alluded to, Ings is really not getting much from open play at all, and as the central striker that suggests the team isn’t creating enough. Despite this, their xG is high (helped by 2 penalties). If you take away the penalties, they have 2 goals from 0.6 xG. Buendia, Bailey, Ings – the new signings need to start ticking and fill the hole left by Grealish’s departure.
West Ham – xG 5.9 Goals: 8
I’ll mention West Ham as they have started the season incredibly, already scoring 8 goals vs Leicester and Newcastle. Though they are outperforming their xG, they have created 9 Big Chances (1st), had 37 shots (3rd), with 16 of those shots on target (2nd). They’re playing with confidence and with good fixtures still to come, this over-performing train could continue a little while longer. Also, Antonio is leading their charge with a very sustainable ratio of 3 goals to an xG of 2.76 – no slowing down for him I hope! Benrahma meanwhile has 2 goals (xG 1.13) and 2 assists (xA 0.67); I’ll be very interested to see if he can emulate the 20/21 demigod Lingard and continue this rate of return.
Tottenham – xGC: 3.4 Goals Conceded: 0
As a bitter Wolves fan, I just want to point out that it’s a miracle Spurs have two cleans sheets to start the season, having conceded 43 shots to give an xGC of 3.4. They have given up 4 big chances but been let off the hook every time – clean sheets aren’t as guaranteed in this team as they may appear. Liverpool (xGC: 2.2, Conceded: 0) have also been fortunate.
Norwich have conceded 8 goals from an xGC of 4.3 – this is a huge disparity in the stats (though I will likely never go near a Norwich defender regardless…). Leeds have also conceded 7 goals from an xGC of 4.5, having let in 5 goals to United despite only conceding 2.3 xGC that game. Both defences have had some hard luck to kick-off the season.
I hope this is helpful and can give you something to think about when targeting teams/players for the upcoming fixtures!