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Current EPL Table vs xG Diff EPL Table

Graeme Written on Thursday, September 12th, 2019

(This is an article written with my friend Fraser, who is big into xG etc stats. I highly recommend reading his blog over at https://expectedgoals.sport.blog/ as he has a lot of interesting analysis).

Expected goals have become the latest stats fad, but there are other ways to use it than just a strikers performance. One of the ways is predict how a final league table might look. Since there has been an international break recently, I thought I’d look at what has happened so far in the EPL and what we can take from the expected goals and see if we can see which teams have over/under performed so far this season and if there is anywhere we can look for value in some long term bets.

What we have done, is take the current EPL table and looked at the differences between expected goals scored and expected goals conceded and resorted the league table.

This is the current league table:

As you can see from this, Liverpool have started the season really well, followed by Manchester City. No real surprises there, but then come Leicester and Crystal Palace in third and fourth place. Manchester United are down in 8th, they haven’t had the best season so far. Down at the bottom of the table is Watford, who have already changed manager.

Now we will look at a different version of this table. I have taken the difference between expected goals scored and expected goals conceded, so lets look and we can see if anyone has over or under performed.

(Thumbnail image – Click for big)

We can see a change now. The two Manchester teams are at the top. With an xG difference per 90 minutes of 1.74 there is a chance if they keep going like this they will run away with the league. Unfortunately, the bookies think the same and Bet365 currently have them as 2/5 favourites so there is no value there. Man Utd are above Liverpool despite the current 7 point difference. What this says is that Man Utd’s performances are not being matched by the results, but this should change. Man Utd this week are 5/6 at home to Leicester, this could be the best value you will get on the Old Trafford side all season. While in this table Leicester only drop to 6th, this still shows that they are currently getting better results than what their play deserves. Man Utd are also 6/4 to finish in the Top 4 this season, which is looking as good value.

Crystal Palace have a big drop, from a current position of 4th down to 16th. This means they have had a bit of luck so far this season. While this table has them just finishing outside the relegation area, the current price of them being 9/2 could be worth a punt.

Watford are currently bottom of the league but they are currently predicted to finish 12th here. I think Watford were a bit quick to sack Javi Gracia as their performances so far should have got them more points. Watford will probably go on a good run shortly which everyone will put down as “new manager syndrome” but will really just be them catching up with their expected performances. I can’t tip them to beat Arsenal this weekend, but I also wouldn’t put any money on them getting relegated either.

Another couple of possible long term bets, Southampton are expected to finish 5th despite their average start. Now they might not finish that high, but 9/4 to finish in the top half is a good price.

An even better price is Sheffield United to finish in the top half at 10/1. They are currently sitting in 10th, but are expected to finish 7th so it might be a risk worth taking.

Another struggling team are Bournemouth. They are currently 15th, but they are expected to finish bottom. Bet365 currently have them at 7/2 to be relegated, or if you think the expected table will turn out correct you are getting 14/1 for them to finish bottom.

Obviously a lot can change due to injuries, transfers, manager changes etc. What will be a more accurate assessment may be seeing what the league is like at the end of the calendar year. We will go back and compare then.

If you have enjoyed this article, be sure to read his blog at https://expectedgoals.sport.blog/ where he uses expected goals and assists to look at various teams and players across the biggest leagues in Europe.



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