The Premier League is back! And with it, Jake Osgathorpe returns to look at the likely winners and scorelines of all 10 games this weekend using expected goals (xG)...
"Manchester United looked to have hit their stride prior to the break, winning three of their last five league games and keeping four clean sheets, with four of those games coming against teams in the top six of our xG table."
No restart win for Norwich
Norwich vs Southampton
Norwich are bottom of the table and six points from safety, so need an upturn in form post-break. Their defensive process needs improving fast if they are to have any chance of surviving (1.92 xGA per game). Southampton have a seven-point cushion to the relegation zone, but have performed like a top half team all season according to xG. They enjoy playing on the road, and chances at both ends is the norm when the Saints take to the field (1.52 xGF, 1.68 xGA pg). We think the Saints will get another away win (43%), in a high-scoring game (58% O2.5, 61% BTTS) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 10.519/2
United to continue good form
Tottenham vs Manchester United
Tottenham are 8th in the table and just seven points off 4th, but that lofty position flatters them greatly (15th in xG table). Their process this season has been exceptionally poor, generating 1.44 xGF and 1.64 xGA per game, and it hasn't picked up since Jose Mourinho's arrival.
Manchester United looked to have hit their stride prior to the break, winning three of their last five league games and keeping four clean sheets, with four of those games coming against teams in the top six of our xG table. They looked much more solid at the back, and the model makes them the value play here, calculating a 42% chance of an away win in a game which we expect entertainment (58% O2.5, 60% BTTS) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 10.519/2
Foxes to beat Hornets
Watford vs Leicester
Watford sit just above the relegation zone heading into the restart, but deserve to be higher according to xG (12th xG table). Their process this season hasn't been bad, but they have to make improvements defensively if they are to stay up (1.3 xGF, 1.7 xGA per game). Leicester remain third despite a poor run of form prior to the break, and have performed well all season long.
Away from home their process (2.1 xGF, 1.3 xGA per game) is better than when they play at home, possibly due to more space being available for counter-attacking, so the model thinks the Foxes will win here (49% LEI). Given the attacking manner in which both of these teams play, we think goals are on the cards (60% O2.5, 61% BTTS) - 1-3.
Back the 1-3 @ 20.019/1
Brighton to condemn Gunners to another 'L'
Brighton vs Arsenal
Brighton are in a relegation fight but are unfortunate to be in that position according to xG, sitting 11th in our xG table. Their process has been solid all season under Graham Potter, especially at home (1.58 xGF, 1.36 xGA per game), and they did get the better of Arsenal at the Emirates earlier this season. Arsenal played on Wednesday in a 3-0 hammering at Manchester City, with it being more of the same for the Gunners.
Their process hasn't improved under Mikel Arteta (1.3 xGF, 1.8 xGA per game), and when you throw in the injuries sustained in that game in midweek and the short turnaround, its hard to make a case for the Gunners. The model makes Brighton 46% favourites to win here, with goals expected between two open teams - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 13.012/1
Wolves to beat Hammers
West Ham vs Wolves
West Ham were showing very small signs of improvements prior to the break, but remain above the drop zone on goal difference. Their process has been poor all season long, and that applies to home games too (1.6 xGF, 1.9 xGA per game), where they have been defensively vulnerable. Wolves are in the hunt for Europe yet again, and that isn't a surprise, ranking as the fourth best team in the league on xG. They are excellent on the road (1.7 xGF, 1.2 xGA per game), and will have been extremely glad of the break given their hectic schedule with Europa League commitments. We think Wolves have a great chance of winning here (58%), and given West Ham's defensive issues, goals should flow (61% O2.5, 59% BTTS) - 1-3.
Back the 1-3 @ 22.021/1
Narrow and much-needed win for Cherries
Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace
Bournemouth went into the break in the bottom three on goal difference, having performed poorly all season long. The Cherries are much better at home (1.4 xGF, 1.7 xGA per game) though than on the road, and this is a huge game given the tough schedule they have coming up.
Crystal Palace are in a cushty position in mid-table following three straight 1-0 wins before the break, but their process has been poor all season long, especially away from home (1.1 xGF, 2.0 xGA per game). Bournemouth will have to have a go in this game, which should mean we see plenty of goal mouth action (57% O2.5, 57% BTTS), with the model calculating a 45% chance the hosts come out on top - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 11.521/2
Blades to edge out Newcastle
Newcastle vs Sheffield United
Newcastle are in a comfortable position in the Premier League, but according to xG they have been the worst team in the league, with their process extremely poor (1.1 xGF, 1.9 xGA per game). Sheff Utd were hard done by on Wednesday against Aston Villa, as they weren't given what was a clear goal. That draw extended their unbeaten run in the PL to 5, but they need wins if they are to secure European football. They are a more open team than their actual numbers suggest, so we are expecting a more open game than the market, with a 50% chance of O2.5 and a 54% chance of BTTS. The Blades are taken to edge proceedings (40%) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 11.521/2
Chelsea to add to Villa woes
Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Aston Villa had a goal-line technology error to thank for coming away with a point against Sheff Utd in midweek, but on the whole it wasn't a bad performance. However, at home this season they have allowed 2.1 xGA per game, which is a worry heading into a game against a potent attack. Chelsea sit fourth heading into this crucial home stretch, and they have impressed all season long according to xG (2.0 xGF, 1.2 xGA per game). They are expected to prove too strong in this game (66%), with goals likely to follow given Villa's vulnerabilities (64% O2.5, 57% BTTS) - 1-3.
Back the 1-3 @ 13.012/1
Reds to win at Goodison
Everton vs Liverpool
Everton are in the bottom half, but have performed like a top six team according to xG this season, and their process has improved greatly since Carlo Ancelotti's appointment, especially in attack (2.2 xGF per game). Liverpool will win the league, but can't do it in this game. Jurgen Klopp's men have been sensational all season long, with their process excellent (2.1 xGF, 1.1 xGA per game), but this is expected to be a tougher game than the market suggests. We make Liverpool 44% favourites to get the win, with goals likely to follow given Everton's attacking mind-set (61% O2.5, 62% BTTS) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 9.28/1
City to win again, but Burnley to notch
Manchester City vs Burnley
Manchester City made light work of Arsenal on Wednesday, with Pep's side looking in great shape, and extremely solid defensively too (xG: MCI 2.9 - 0.3 ARS). Their process at home is excellent (2.7 xGF, 0.9 xGA per game), so we should see another City win here. Burnley are rightly in mid-table after another solid season at this level, a season in which they have been more adventurous in attack (1.5 xGF per game). They can cause issues for City here in a high-scoring game (71% O2.5, 50% O3.5, 54% BTTS), but one which the hosts win (77% MCI) - 3-1.
Back the 3-1 @ 12.5
Just in time for the return of Premier League action, Infogol has improved its website and free app with; a cleaner look, More prominent xG features, Enhanced Form Guide and Over/Under % chance. Check them out at infogol.net
Infogol's 19/20 Correct Score P+L
Norwich 1-2 Southampton: Back the 1-2 @ 10.519/2
Tottenham 1-2 Manchester United: Back the 1-2 @ 10.519/2
Watford 1-3 Leicester: Back the 1-3 @ 20.019/1
Brighton 2-1 Arsenal: Back the 2-1 @ 13.012/1
West Ham 1-3 Wolves: Back the 1-3 @ 22.021/1
Bournemouth 2-1 Crystal Palace: Back the 2-1 @ 11.521/2
Newcastle 1-2 Sheffield United: Back the 1-2 @ 11.521/2
Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea: Back the 1-3 @ 13.012/1
Everton 1-2 Liverpool: Back the 1-2 @ 9.28/1
Manchester City 3-1 Burnley: Back the @ 12.5