EPL Analysis and GW 31 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 30 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 31

EPL Table after GW30 (Image by Author)

After Game-week 30 Man City is on top of the table with 74 points,14 points clear of their city rivals. Manchester United is in the second position with 60 points. Leicester City who lost their home match vs the league leaders is still at third position with 56 points. Tuchel was handed his first defeat as Chelsea boss by relegation battling West Brom. Hammers took advantage of Chelsea’s slip and has climbed into the top 4 with a victory at the Molineux.
However, Spurs were not able to take advantage of Chelsea dropping points settling for a draw against Newcastle. The Reds are at 7th position with same points as the Spurs after crushing the Gunners 3–0. Klopp’s men still have a chance of securing a top 4 spot.

The Blades who are at the bottom of the table suffered another defeat in the last week, this time to Leeds United. They are 15 points behind the Magpies who are at 17th position. Fulham and West Brom still have slight chance of avoiding relegation. The Sparrows secured 3 points from the Stamford Bridge crushing the Blues 2–5. Fulham despite putting up a good show, lost to the Villans. Fulham, with 26 points are 3 points behind Newcastle United.

xG scored and conceded per game (Image by Author)

After 30 game-weeks, Man City dominates both attack and defense as it has the highest xG scored and the lowest xG conceded per game. The Reds are in second position despite their dismal attacking performance in the recent games. They are followed by Chelsea, Man United and Leeds who have scored more than 1.5 xG per game.

Crystal Palace, Burnley, New Castle, Sheffield United and West Brom struggling with creativity are at the bottom of the league in terms of xG scored per game, failing to produce even 1 xG per game.

Manchester City with around 0.75 xG conceded per game, seems to the the best defensive unit despite conceding a few goals in their recent matches.
Tuchel’s Chelsea is at a close second position. The Seagulls are the only other team which has conceded less than 1 xG per game.

Most teams concede between 1 to 1.5 xG per game. West Brom, Sheffield United, Palace and Leeds have failed to stop their opponents from creating goal scoring opportunities, having 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 difference 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.

Delta xG (Image by Author)

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 5th position, however they are in the 16th position in the table as they lack quality strikers up front.

Game Week 31 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 31 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.

Predictions (Image by Author)

City, Brighton and Liverpool have very good chance of securing 3 points from their Home games. Chelsea, Arsenal and Southampton are expected to win their away outings comfortably. Top of the table clash between the Hammers and the Foxes is estimated to be the most closely contested match. In the other heavy weight match between Spurs and Man United, the Red Devils have a slight edge over their rivals.

Predictions vs Actual Results

Predictions vs Actual

The predictions were right in 6 out of 7 games where the predicted delta-xG was more than 0.10 at an accuracy of around 86% which is great for a simple algorithm.

Photo by Thomas Serer on Unsplash

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