Having deservedly lost 2-0 away to rivals Manchester United in midweek, Leeds can perhaps feel a little hard done by the have lost the return leg at Elland Road by the same margin at the weekend. Accumulating 1.89xG to the Red Devils’ 1.30 according to understat.com, Michael Skubala’s side were value for at least a point. Their bad luck should even out over time, but their fans will be concerned that, with just 16 games to go, it may not turn in time.
We suggested last week that Nathan Jones would struggle to survive a defeat against Wolves and so it proved. A goal and a man up at half-time, Saints somehow contrived to lose despite conceding just 0.62xG, with Wolves scoring twice from just a single shot on target. Much has been said about the decision of set-piece expert James Ward-Prowse’s to play a 90th minute free-kick short, but that did lead to a Mohammed Salisu chance worth 0.5xG, which made up a fair chunk of their 1.3xG total. They remain in serious trouble. It’s hard to draw too many conclusions about the away side given their man deficit for much of the game, although clearly team spirit and heart are no issue.
Other results at the bottom were mostly fair. West Ham (1.08) and Chelsea (0.90) shared a 1-1 draw, as did Bournemouth and Newcastle, with nothing to split the sides both on actual score and xG (1.54-1.55). Fulham (1.70) ran out deserved winners over Nottingham Forest (0.69), while Everton could not build on a win over Arsenal last week, losing 2-0 to arch rivals Liverpool in a game that ended 2.23-0.40 on xG.
Palace continue to struggle
Crystal Palace notched a point against rivals Brighton but were once more losers on the xG metric. The 1-1 scoreline was little reflection of a game that Roberto De Zerbi’s side should have won having accrued 2.65xG to Palace’s 0.93. Despite having failed to win in 2023, The Eagles remain 7 points clear of the bottom three, although that margin is likely to be smaller in 5 games time give that they have some decidedly tricky fixtures to come.
Comfortably the least fair result of the weekend was Leicester’s 4-1 win over Spurs. Leicester’s four goals came from just 1.41xG. The Foxes have scored 36 times from an expected goals total of just 24.94, making them comfortably the most clinical side in the league. Spurs 1.12xG should have been enough to earn them a draw, and they can count themselves extremely unlucky.
Speaking of luck, there was plenty of it on show in the game between Arsenal and Brentford on Saturday. While you could argue that The Gunners were fortunate to gain a point having recorded 1.37xG to Brentford’s 2.18, but that doesn’t tell the full story, as Ivan Toney’s goal – which was clearly offside and missed by VAR – was worth a hefty 0.82xG that shouldn’t have counted. If we ignore that chance, the two sides played out a very fair 1.37-1.36 draw, with a 1-1 result probably the correct one despite the manner of the Brentford goal.
Elsewhere at the top, Man City (3.61) ran out convincing 3-1 winners over Aston Villa (0.29), a score that was fairly reflective of their dominance on xG.