The only place to start this week is at Anfield, where Liverpool thrashed Man Utd 7-0, scoring six times in the second half. While the result was fair, the scoreline grossly flattered the home side, although they still produced an excellent 2.8xG according to fbref.com, their best since beating Bournemouth 9-0. Cody Gakpo has taken a while to get up to the speed of the Premier League, but two goals from just 0.3xG suggests the Dutchman is now starting to adapt to life under Jurgen Klopp.
United had a day to forget. They had looked dangerous for the first 40 minutes, and it might have been a very different game had Marcus Rashford converted an effort worth 0.32xG. Overall, Erik Ten Haag’s side managed just 0.8xG, one of their worst attacking displays of the season.
Tight At The Top
Elsewhere at the top of the table, Man City recorded a deserved win over Newcastle, clocking up 1.3xG to their opponent’s 0.4xG. That was Newcastle’s second lowest xG total of the season and their top four aspirations now hang by a thread, having scored just 3 actual goals from 11.3 expected in their last eight games.
Arsenal retained their place at the top of the Premier League with a thrilling 3-2 win over struggling Bournemouth. The Cherries led after just 9 seconds having created a chance worth 0.46 directly from kick-off and doubled the lead early in the second half. Mikel Arteta’s side fought back, however, with Thomas Partey converting a chance worth 0.6xG to start a revival that was completed by Reiss Nelson, who brilliantly drove home a 0.04xG chance to secure the win with basically the final kick of the game. On the overall xG balance, 2.6-1.3, Arsenal deserved their win.
Several European contenders faced relegation threatened sides over the course of the weekend, with mixed results. Brighton ruthlessly dispatched West Ham and were full value for their 4-0 win, as they also dished out a 3.5 to 0.3 hammering on xG.
Chelsea edged out Leeds 1-0 but the away side can possibly count themselves unlucky not to have earned a point, with the final score 1.5-1 on expected goals.
So, too, can Spurs, who were clear winners on xG, accruing 1.3 to Wolves’ 0.4. The Black County side ran out 1-0 winners thanks to Adama Traore’s brilliant finish, with the Spaniard acrobatically volleying home a chance worth 0.08xG. For all that Spurs were comfortable winners on the expected goals metric, their total was largely down to an accumulation of low probability efforts, with their total coming from 21 attempts at an average of just 0.06xG per shot.
There were several big games at the bottom this gameweek. Aston Villa all but secured safety by beating Crystal Palace 1-0, a very fair result on xG (1.2-0.2). Palace continue to slip into a relegation battle and remain without a win in 2023. With Man City, Brighton and Arsenal up next, things are going to get worse for Patrick Vieira’s side before they get better.
The points were shared between Nottingham Forest and Everton, with the two struggling sides playing out a 2-2 draw. Everton can count themselves unlucky, however, as they were solid victors based on expected goals, winning 1.7 to 0.9. Forest are relying on their home form to stay up, so it must be a big concern that their process at the City Ground has not been great in recent weeks.
In another relegation six pointer, Southampton recorded a vital win over Leicester. The Saints registered 1.4xG, but 0.78 of that was from a missed penalty, and it’s hard to argue that they deserved anything from this game, particularly as Leicester recorded 1.9xG of their own. Brendan Rogers’ team are usually clinical, but couldn’t score here despite their best efforts. Kelechi Iheanacho was the biggest culprit, with the Nigerian international squandering 1.1xG by himself.
In the Monday night game, Brentford beat Fulham 3-2 and also won the game 2.3-1.3 on xG. Brentford’s penalty bolstered their xG score somewhat, and a draw would probably have been a fairer result.