Infogol's Steven Railston uses expected goals (xG) to predict the likely winners and scorelines of each match in Gameweek 19...
"Despite weathering a few poor results, the Blues still boast the fourth best attack in the league according to expected goals. With an array of elite attacking talent at his disposal, it only seems a matter of time before Lampard gets it right."
Wolves to edge Baggies at Molineaux
Wolves vs West Brom
After beating Chelsea, not many would have predicted Wolves would go five games without a win, most recently losing to Everton in midweek (xG: WOL 1.2 - 0.4 EVE). It was a result that expected goals suggested was harsh, though, with Wolves defending well. Since their heavy loss to West Ham, they've conceded an average of 1.3 xGA per game, and they'll be confident of keeping a clean sheet here against a struggling West Brom.
Sam Allardyce has been tasked with steering the Baggies to safety, although it seems like it might be his greatest challenge yet. West Brom's underlying numbers (0.7 xGF and 2.1 xGA pg) rank them firmly as the worst team in the league, and they head into this clash after conceding nine goals without responding across two fixtures. The Infogol model makes the hosts the strong favourites (62%) to win the Black County derby, although it's not forecasting a high scoring game (65% U2.5).
Leeds and Brighton to share the points
Leeds have been highly inconsistent since their return to the Premier League, but there's no denying their games are entertaining. Marcelo Bielsa's side have seen the most expected goals (xG) in the league this season, recording brilliant attacking numbers (1.8 xGF pg), while looking vulnerable in defence (2.0 xGA pg). Their recent 5-0 win over West Brom (xG: WBA 0.6 - 1.4 LEE), followed by their 3-0 defeat at Spurs (xG: TOT 2.9 - 1.3 LEE) perfectly encapsulates this, and Brighton should get at least one good opportunity at Elland Road.
Brighton are the league's biggest underachievers this term, with Infogol's expected league table placing the Seagulls as high as sixth position. Despite not recording great results, their underlying numbers have been more than respectable (1.6 xGF and 1.3 xGA pg). If Brighton can continue to deliver performances in a similar vein of form, results are likely to improve. The Infogol model is siding with the visitors to avoid defeat here, and we could bet set for an entertaining contest (53% O2.5).
Burnley can hold the Irons
West Ham vs Burnley
After making an excellent start, West Ham's results soon worsened, although they are now unbeaten in their last three league games. Their most recent 1-0 win away at Everton (xG: EVE 0.5 - 1.5 WHU) was a well-deserved result, and despite drawing their previous two games before that, it's worth noting they won the xG battle in each of those fixtures. They've recorded numbers fitting of a midtable side (1.5 xGF and 1.4 xGA pg), and after flirting with relegation last campaign, West Ham fans will surely be content with the job David Moyes is doing.
Unlike the Irons, Burnley endured a miserable start, but their results have improved in recent months. Their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United (xG: BUR 1.2 - 1.4 MUN) was perhaps unfortunate, with Paul Pogba's moment of brilliance (6%) proving decisive. The Clarets' defensive record (1.4 xGA pg) suggests they'll be able to limit West Ham's sights on goal, and the Infogol model forecasts a 47% chance of both teams finding the back of the net.
Chelsea to bounce back at Fulham
Fulham are now unbeaten in five Premier League games, and they've taken points off Liverpool in that period, most recently drawing with Tottenham (xG: TOT 2.9 - 1.3 FUL). That was a brave performance from Scott Parker's side and they're undoubtedly on an upward curve. Crucially, they're improving in defence, and Fulham have conceded an average of 1.4 xGA per game across their last five fixtures.
Regardless, Spurs still created 2.9 xG against the Cottagers, and it's likely Chelsea won't be as wasteful if granted similar opportunities. Despite weathering a few poor results, the Blues still boast the fourth best attack in the league according to expected goals (1.9 xGF pg) . With an array of elite attacking talent at his disposal, it only seems a matter of time before Lampard gets it right. The Infogol model forecasts an entertaining game (57% O2.5) here, with both sides finding the back of the net (54% BTTS), and we could potentially witness an emphatic Chelsea response as they aim to bounce back.
Leicester to beat Southampton
Leicester City sit third in the table after beating Newcastle most recently, unsurprisingly looking the more assured side despite the game ending with similar xG totals (xG: NEW 0.6 - 0.6 LEI). They'll be looking for a stronger attacking display here, and the Foxes have averaged 1.6 xGF pg this term, with incredibly 30% of their xGF total coming from 10 penalties. Leicester are often seen to best effect against teams who aren't afraid to attack, and Southampton could prove to be the ideal opposition, not afraid to commit personnel forward.
The Saints briefly occupied the Champions League places, but they've since dropped down the table. While their 1-0 win over Liverpool was a momentous result (xG: SOU 0.3 - 1.7 LIV), the champions were wasteful and were left to rue their missed chances. Furthermore, Infogol's expected league table actually suggests Southampton have markedly overachieved this season, with their attacking output poor. Ralph Hasenhüttl's side are averaging 1.0 xGF pg, and it seems inevitable the goals will dry up. The Infogol model thinks it's unlikely both teams will score (48% BTTS 'No') and the hosts can win this while keeping a clean sheet.
Sheffield United to secure another result
Sheffield United vs Tottenham
Sheffield United have looked toothless in front of goal this campaign, scoring just nine goals from 20.0 xG - an underperformance of 122%. However, they finally secured their first win of the season on Tuesday, beating Newcastle at Bramall Lane (xG: SHU 2.1 - 0.9 NEW). The Blades looked sharp in that contest, and they'll be hoping for another positive result in quick succession. Notably, they've conceded 1.6 xGA per game at home, and they might struggle to prevent Tottenham from scoring.
Tottenham would have felt aggrieved after drawing with Fulham in midweek, but ultimately, they failed to take their chances (xG: TOT 2.9 - 1.3 FUL). Spurs have created an average of 1.7 xGF per game this campaign, often relying on the individual excellence of Harry Kane (0.6 xG/avg match) and Son Heung-min for a moment of inspiration. The Infogol model predicts both sides will score (57% BTTS) in this clash, siding with Sheffield United to hold the visitors.
Manchester United to secure a point at Anfield
Liverpool vs Manchester United
For the first time since September 2019, Liverpool are no longer sitting at the summit of the Premier League table. Two consecutive draws, followed by their defeat at Southampton (xG: SOU 0.3 - 1.8 LIV), means they've surrendered top spot, although expected goals still suggest they're the best team in the topflight. Their underlying numbers (2.1 xGF and 1.2 xGA pg) are outstanding, but there's no denying they haven't been at their best in recent weeks.
Bitter rivals Manchester United have claimed first position at Liverpool's expense, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer miraculously galvanising the Red Devils after their underwhelming start. Since United's 6-1 debacle against Spurs, no teams has won more points in the league, with Solskjaer's side averaging 1.9 xGF and 1.2 xGA per game across that fruitful period. Those are title contending numbers, and they should be a serious threat to Liverpool here. The Infogol model predicts a 56% chance that both teams will score, but it doesn't forecast any more goals (47% U2.5), with United favoured to leave with a point.
Manchester City to record stylish victory
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace
Manchester City have seemed to visually return to their best in recent weeks, and their underlying numbers confirm that observation. City are now unbeaten in eight league games, averaging 2.4 xGF and 0.6 xGA per game across that period, recording figures worthy of league leaders. They've regained their swagger, and after only dropping points three times at the Etihad this season, they should make for formidable opposition against Crystal Palace.
Palace drew away at Arsenal in midweek, although that game certainly didn't produce any fireworks with either side failing to break the deadlock (xG: ARS 0.6 - 0.8 CRY). The Eagles have created an average of just 1.1 xGF per game this term, which is a woeful attacking process, and their chances of scoring seem overwhelmingly slim here, especially considering City's recent excellent defensive record. The Infogol model calculates a 66% chance of there being more than two goals, and Pep Guardiola's side can win this clash in stylish fashion.
Arsenal to regain winning thread
Arsenal vs Newcastle
Arsenal looked devoid of any creativity last week against Crystal Palace, their highest probability chance of the game given a value of just 14% (xG: ARS 0.6 - 0.8 CRY). That's been a reoccurring theme for the Gunners this season (1.4 xGF pg), although prior to drawing with Palace they had won three consecutive matches, including an impressive display against Chelsea. There's reasons for optimism in defence, too, as Arsenal have conceded just 1.2 xGA per game across their last five fixtures, suggesting chances will be hard to come by for Newcastle at the Emirates.
Steve Bruce's side were appalling at Sheffield United most recently, handing the Blades their first win of the campaign (xG: SHU 2.1 - 0.9 NEW). They were even worse than the xG totals allude to, and the Magpies look in great danger of being dragged into a relegation battle. This would not be surprising considering their underlying numbers (1.1 xGF and 1.6 xGA pg) , and Arsenal look set to compound their misery on Monday evening. The Infogol model predicts a high scoring game is unlikely (51% U.25), and Arsenal should have enough to keep a clean sheet.
Wolves vs West Brom: Back the 1-0 @ 5.85/1
Leeds vs Brighton: Back the 2-2 @ 8.07/1
West Ham vs Burnley: Back the 1-1 @ 7.613/2
Fulham vs Chelsea: Back the 1-3 @ 13.5
Leicester vs Southampton: Back the 2-0 @ 10.09/1
Sheffield United vs Tottenham: Back the 1-1 @ 8.27/1
Liverpool vs Manchester United: Back the 1-1 @ 8.615/2
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace: Back the 3-0 @ 7.06/1
Arsenal vs Newcastle: Back the 2-0 @ 7.26/1