EPL Analysis and GW 25 Prediction

A data driven attempt in predicting English Premier League results using xG Statistics

This is an article on my EPL Prediction series. You can check out the prediction for Game Week 24 and how it fared against the actual performance here.

Expected Goals or xG is the parameter used for prediction. If you are interested in understanding the algorithm for prediction, I recommend that you check out this article where it is explained in detail.

Analysis up to Game-week 24

The Premier League seems to be very interesting at the moment. As Klopp said, it appears that City is running away with the title. However the competition is very fierce for the top 4 finish. Just 10 points separates the team placed second from the team placed 9th. We may have a completely different top 4 after just two gameweeks.

EPL Table (Image by Author)

After game week 24, Manchester City are on top of the table with 56 points. Pep Guardiola’s side is 10 points clear of their city rivals, the Red Devils who are in second place.
Man United dropped 2 points at West Brom conceding a 1–1 draw against the relegation battling side. Leicester city in third position is level with Man United in points, after crushing the defending champions 3–1 at the King Power Stadium.

The Blues and the Hammers advanced ahead of the Reds in the table, capitalizing on the Reds dropping points.
Chelsea and West Ham won their respective home games against relegation battling Newcastle United and Sheffield United respectively. Chelsea has moved from 10th position to 4th position in the table in 5 games after Tuchel took the reigns.

Among the teams which had double game week, Man City emerged with all the 6 points whereas, Fulham and Burnley managed to secure 4 points each.
Carlos Ancelotti’s men who had a chance to get into the top 4 had a disastrous game-week losing both of their matches. The team appears to be toothless without their top-scorer Domenic Calvert Lewin in their ranks.

The Villains are at the 8 position, ahead of Spurs leveled at 36 points,thanks to 1 point secured away from Brighton. Mourinho’s spurs were crushed 3–0 by Pep’s City in the Super Sunday clash.
The Gunners are back to the top half of the table after very interesting match at the Emirates against Leeds United. Arteta and Co. defeated Leeds 4–2 in the game in which captain Auba marked his return to the side with a hat-trick.

xG Scored vs xG Conceded (Image by Author)

After 24 gameweeks, Man City dominates both attack and defence as it has the highest xG scored and the lowest xG conceded per game. The Reds are still in second position despite their dismal attacking performance in the recent games. Man United who leads the pack in goals scored is at third position with respect to xG scored. Aston Villa, Leeds and Chelsea have also created more than 1.5xG per game.

Crystal Palace, Burnley, New Castle, Sheffield United, West Brom and Southampton struggling with creativity are at the bottom of the league in terms of xG scored per game.
Southampton have lost all of their last 6 games in the league have been struggling to find the net lately, their xG per game has dropped below 1.

Manchester City seems to the the best defensive unit allowing opponents to create just around 0.70 xG per game. Man City have conceded only two goals in the last 9 games.
Chelsea is the only other team which have conceded less than 1 xG per game. After Tuchel took charge, Chelsea has conceded only one goal in 5 games, the only goal conceded being the own goal by Rudiger against Sheff Utd.
Most teams concede between 1 to 1.5 xG per game. West Brom and Leeds have conceded more than 1.5xG per game.

xG Scored vs xG Conceded (Image by Author)

Based on xG Scored and xG Conceded, teams can be grouped into 4 quadrants as shown in the above graph.
The horizontal dotted line shows the average xG scored per game. Teams above the horizontal dotted line are strong attacking sides and the teams below, weak in attack.
The vertical dotted line shows the average xG conceded per game. Teams to the left have a strong defense and the teams to the right have week defense.

Delta xG (Image by Author)

Man City is head and shoulders above the other teams with respect to delta xG, with a differece of more than 1 between xG scored and xG conceded. Liverpool and Chelsea are the the only other teams with delta xG above 0.5. West Brom on the other hand is struggling at both ends of the pitch with the weakest attack and porous defense. Crystal Palace and Sheffield United also ranks very low under delta xG.

Leeds United ranks among the top in xG created per match. However, the team has negative delta xG as opponents find it easy to penetrate the Leeds defense, something Bielsa has to immediately look into. Wolves on the other hand is a good team defensively, but they lack the strike force with Raul Jiminez out due to injury.

Brighton as per the delta-xG table is placed at 5 position, however they are in the 16th position in the table as they lack quality strikers up front. The have conceded 11 draws in the season which is the maximum. Fulham as per xG stats, is three places clear of relegation. However the Cottagers are languishing in the relegation zone at 17th position. They are not able to convert the xG stats into points as they have conceded 9 draws, the most in the league after Brighton.

Game Week 25 Predictions

Before proceeding to the predictions, let me clarify that this is a very simple algorithm just based on past xG, so only baseline performance can be expected. The algorithm also fails to predict high scoring games. The model also does not take into account the team selection, absence of players due to injuries/suspension, formation, tactical changes etc.

However, the model has been performing pretty well in predicting the momentum of the matches. You can check out how the actual performance fared against the predictions made for the previous game week below.

Predictions for Game Week 25 are provided in the table below.
The absolute value of GD shows the competitiveness of the match. The higher the value, more one sided the match is expected to be and higher the accuracy of prediction.
The lower the value of GD, the more the match could be anybody’s game. Positive value of GD means Home win and Negative value means Away team win.

There are 11 matches in GW 25 with Leeds United and Southampton having Double Game Weeks.

GW 25 Predictions(Image by Author)

This gameweek seems to be in favor the host teams, except Mancity and Chelsea who are traveling to the Emirates and St. Mary’s Park.
Arsenal vs Man City is predicted to be a comfortable win for the Citizens based on xG. However, the Gunners beat any team on their day and has a record of ending unbeaten runs of teams managed by Pep.

GW 25 predicted delta xG (Image by Author)

Man United and Brighton are estimated to secure 3 points comfortably from their home outings. In the Merseyside Derby scheduled on this Saturday, the Reds have an upper hand over the Toffees. Burnley and Fulham are also expected to outperform their rivals at home.
West Ham vs Spurs, Leeds vs Southampthon and Wolves vs Leeds could be anybody’s game with stats slightly in favor of the hosts.
Villa vs Leicester seems to the a match between equals, with the hosts having a very slight advantage over the hosts.

How the Predictions fare against the actual performance will be updated after the gameweek.

Photo by Vienna Reyes on Unsplash

Data Analyst | Hacker | Financial Analyst | Freelancer | IIM MBA | Opensource | Democratize Knowledge | https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLpBd4gzfIBXm2BPpdHOWdQ