EPL Analysis and GW 27 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 26 and how it fared against the actual performance here.

The predictions for the latest Game Week is below

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 27

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 9 points separates the team placed second from the team placed 8th.
We may have a completely different top 4 after just two gameweeks.

EPL Table (Image by Author)

After 26 gameweeks, Man City is on the top of the table with 65 points. They are 14 clear of their city rivals, Manchester United who are at the second position.
Leicester City is at the heels of the Red Devils with 50 points.
Chelsea unbeaten under Tuchel is at the fourth position closely followed by the Toffees and Hammers.
The defending champions are at 7th position following their disappointing performance in the last few weeks. Spurs who are back to winning ways is at 8th position, are also eyeing a champions league spot.

In the relegation battle, Fulham is pushing hard to break out of the relegation zone. If the manage to continue their recent form, they can hope to make it out of the relegation zone.

xG Scored vs xG Conceded (Image by Author)

After 26 gameweeks, Man City dominates both attack and defense 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. Leeds, Aston Villa and Chelsea have also created more than 1.5xG per game.

Crystal Palace, Burnley, New Castle, Sheffield United, Southampton and West Brom struggling with creativity are at the bottom of the league in terms of xG scored per game.

Manchester City seems to the the best defensive unit only conceding around 0.7 xG per game.
Chelsea is the only other team which have conceded less than 1 xG per game. Potters who are battling relegation is the unlikely third best defensive side with respect to xG conceded.

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, Sheffield United and Burnley 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 4 position, however they are in the 16th position in the table as they lack quality strikers up front.

Game Week 27 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 27 are provided in the table below. This GW has 11 games with Man City vs Southampton game added to the regular fixtures.
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.

GW 27 Predictions(Image by Author)

This gameweek seems to be in favor the home teams, the algorithm expects the home team to perform better than the away teams in 8 out of 11 fixtures.
Man City vs the Saints is expected to be the most one sided match of the gameweek, Man City is expected to secure three points comfortably.
Man City is also expected to win the Manchester Derby comfortably.
Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Villa are also expected to win their home outings comfortably this Gameweek.

Arsenal and New Castle United are expected to win their away outings vs Burnley and Westbrom. Brighton vs Leicester seems to the most evenly contested match of the weekend.

Predictions vs Actual Results

Predictions vs actuals

The algorithm was able to predict 6 out of 11 matches correctly, which is around 55% accuracy. The accuracy is 66% for the top 6 predictions.

Two predictions which went wrong were those involving the Red Devils. Manchester United’s performance seems to be unpredictable!
The biggest upset of the weekend was when the Red Devils, who are in second place lost to the relegation battling Fulham.
The algorithm predicted a comfortable win for the current leaders, Manchester City in the Manchester derby. However, Ole’s men out performed Pep’s team, scoring two goals against the seemingly unpenetrable Man City defense.

Photo by Tim Bechervaise on Unsplash

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