The xG Review: April 8th – 9th 2023

Our trader looks back at last weekend's game from an xG perspective

Steve, Senior Trader

Steve, Senior Trader

11 months ago

United Tame Toffees

The weekend kicked off with Manchester United recording a deserved 2-0 win against struggling Everton. The two goal margin of victory was almost perfectly reflected in the expected goals, with United coming out ahead by 3.4 to Everton’s 1.0 according to FBRef.

Erik Ten Hag’s side put the pressure on Newcastle with that victory, but the Toon Army responded with a superb 2-1 win away at Brentford. The home side looked a bit unlucky if you take the 2.6-1.3 xG score at face value, but included in that total were two penalties worth a whopping 1.58xG. With that said, a non-pen xG score of 1.02 was still probably enough to argue that the Bees deserved a point from the game.

Elsewhere in the battle for a top 4 finish, Spurs overcame Brighton but were flattered by the 2-1 scoreline. The Seagulls were value for at least a point here, and you could argue that they deserved all three having won 1.4-0.8 on xG. Also denied a stonewall penalty, it was most certainly not Brighton’s weekend.

That defeat allowed Aston Villa to climb into sixth following a deserved win over Nottingham Forest. Unai Emery has his side firing on all cylinders at the moment and they overwhelmed a poor and struggling Forest side, who dropped into the bottom three following this defeat. They can have no complaints either, losing 2-0 on actual goals and 1.3-0.2 on expected.

Elsewhere at the bottom, West Ham lifted themselves away from the drop zone with a 1-0 win away at Fulham, having edged the xG 1.1 to 0.7. Fulham continue to struggle on the xG metric and are in for a long 23/24 season unless they invest heavily.

Losses For Lampard And Leicester

Similar comments can also be applied to Wolves. The men from Molineux claimed a valuable 3 points against Chelsea, despite losing 0.6-1.1 on xG, thanks to a sensational Matheus Nunes volley worth just 0.04xG. In fairness, Chelsea’s total was mostly the result of a number of low quality efforts. The appointment of Frank Lampard appeared to have little positive impact.

Nor, too, did the sacking of Brendan Rogers, as Leicester slipped to a hugely damaging defeat against relegation rivals Bournemouth. The Cherries were full value for their 1-0 win, and probably deserved more, clocking up 2xG as they dominated at the King Power Stadium. In response, Leicester managed just 0.7xG and appear to be in massive trouble.

As are Southampton, who are surely going to be playing in the Championship next season. They appeared to have little hope against Man City prior to the game and so it proved, with Pep Guardiola’s side romping to a 4-1 win at St Marys. With Saints mustering just 0.4xG to City’s 2.9, their defeat was fully deserved.

As was Leeds’ 1-5 loss against Crystal Palace in a game that finished 0.9-3.0 on xG. Leeds actually started the game with 0.73 of unanswered xG as they took the lead through Patrick Bamford, but went to pieces in alarming fashion in the second half and remain firmly in a relegation scrap. Palace are surely now safe.

Finally, in the most exciting game of the weekend, Arsenal and Liverpool shared a 2-2 draw at Anfield. The home side can count themselves extremely unlucky having won 3.9-1.4 on xG. Aaron Ramsdale was in sensational form for the Gunners and despite dropping a 2-0 lead they can count this as a point gained.