The Premier League heads into GW2 and Jake Osgathorpe uses expected goals (xG) to assess the likely winners and scorelines of each match...
"The Reds will need to be tighter defensively here, but they are capable of that, and they are more than capable of racking up the chances and goals against this Chelsea defence."
Easy win for Everton
Everton vs West Brom
Everton got their season off to the best possible start, winning 1-0 at Spurs in a game which they controlled from a tempo standpoint, and one in which they impressed greatly after taking the lead. James Rodriguez looked excellent, as did Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, and those three can help drive the Toffees to the next level. West Brom were poor against Leicester, with their defensive approach yielding very few chances (0.5 xGF) in a deserved loss. They looked a way of the standard of Leicester, and that should prove the case again this weekend. Everton are fancied to win (52%), but don't expect fireworks (55% U2.5, 53% BTTS 'no') - 2-0.
Back the 2-0 @ 15/28.6
Leeds to get off the mark
Leeds vs Fulham
Leeds gained a lot of plaudits for their performance at Liverpool, losing 4-3, but while they did entertain with their high-pressing approach, the only reason the scoreline was close was due to the clinicality of their finishing, netting three times from six shots equating to 0.33 xG - something Infogol calculates had a 0.2% chance of happening. Fulham were poor on the eye test, scoreboard and xG against Arsenal last weekend, barely putting up a fight in their home opener. These teams are predominantly the same XI's as last season in the Championship, and Marcelo Bielsa's side were streets clear of Fulham based on underlying numbers. The hosts are fancied to win (49%), with goals expected (51% O2.5, 54% BTTS) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 17/29.4
United to ease back into things
Manchester United vs Crystal Palace
Manchester United finished last season in impressive manner, with no team collecting more points after the January transfer window closing. Their process all season long was that of a top four team, and defensively they were improving as the season progressed, allowing 1.1 xGA per game post-break. Crystal Palace got an impressive win against Southampton despite taking just five shots, with it being a case of quality over quantity, as they racked up three big chances (>35%). They struggled in attack on the road last season (0.9 xGF pg), and I think they will find it difficult to create at Old Trafford. United are expected to win (67%), with a clean sheet likely too (56% BTTS 'no') - 2-0.
Back the 2-0 @ 13/27.4
Arsenal to rack up another win
Arsenal vs West Ham
Arsenal were solid against Fulham, making light work of the newly promoted team to create plenty and concede very little (xG: FUL 0.2 - 2.2 ARS). That was a promising display, though I'm not going to get carried away. West Ham were poor at home to Newcastle, getting off to the worst possible start given their upcoming fixtures. They are a capable attacking team, as shown post-break (1.7 xGF pg), and should have a go at the Emirates as they look to bounce back. Defensively though, they have to be better, and this Arsenal team can exploit their issues, with the model giving the Gunners a 53% chance of winning in a high-scoring game (51% O2.5, 52% BTTS) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 17/29.4
Entertaining draw at St Mary's
Southampton vs Tottenham
Southampton were underwhelming at Palace in their opener, conceding three big chances and creating just one, with Ralph Hassenhuttl questioning his players fitness this week. They are capable of better, and have the ability to bounce back to form here. Tottenham were also poor last weekend, going down at home to Everton in a game which they looked like they had run out of ideas in attack. Spurs are a team that have plenty of attacking quality, but we don't see it too often these days. Hopefully we get to see the handbrake taken off this weekend. Spurs won just four of 19 league games last season, so don't travel too well. We think Southampton will avoid defeat (60% SOU or Draw) in a high-scoring game (57% O2.5, 59% BTTS) - 2-2.
Back the 2-2 @ 16.5
Spoils shared at St James'
Newcastle vs Brighton
Newcastle got their season off to a fantastic start at West Ham, running out 2-0 winners after a solid display. It was nice to see a more attack-minded set-up deployed by Steve Bruce, starting a front two of Callum Wilson and Andy Carroll, and I hope he persists with a similar plan. I though Brighton were excellent on Monday against Chelsea. They out-played the Blues for 80 minutes, and limited the free-spending Blues to 0.6 non-penalty xG while creating two big chances themselves and a total of 1.3 xG. A similar performance here would likely yield at least a point, and Graham Potter's side are fancied to avoid defeat (63% BHA or Draw) in a low-scoring game (58% U2.5) - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 6/16.8
Reds to make early statement
Chelsea vs Liverpool
Chelsea were underwhelming against Brighton in their season opener, and looked severely second best for the most part of the game, needing a Reece James stunner (2%) and a Kurt Zouma deflected shot (11%) to secure the win. They still looked vulnerable defensively, and Kepa was again beaten from range by a shot he should have saved, so I am not yet sold that this Chelsea revolution is worth shouting about right now. They will find their groove for sure at some point though. Liverpool limited Leeds to just 0.3 xG in their 4-3 win, and while Leeds did look more threatening than that on the eye test, a home win was always the likely outcome given it was wave after wave of attacks. The Reds will need to be tighter defensively here, but they are capable of that, and they are more than capable of racking up the chances and goals against this Chelsea defence. I like the chances of Jurgen Klopp's side this weekend, with goals likely given the attacking nature of both teams (55% O2.5, 59% BTTS) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 10.5
Burnley to hold Leicester
Leicester vs Burnley
Leicester's opener ended up being more comprehensive than would have been expected at 50 minutes, as they ran up the score thanks to two late penalties to earn the win at West Brom. They controlled the game well, but didn't create too much in the way of chances outside of the penalties (1.4 non pen xG), which is a little concerning. Burnley start their season with this trip, looking to follow on from an impressive top half finish in 19/20. The Clarets lost only two of their last 16 league games, one of those at Manchester City, so are an extremely tough team to beat, and that should continue this term with Sean Dyche at the helm. I like Burnley's chances of avoiding defeat here (52% BUR or Draw), in a low-scoring affair (55% U2.5) - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 15/28.4
Villa to start season with a point
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United
Aston Villa start their Premier League season after surviving on the final day last term, with their defensive improvements post-break the main reason for their survival. Dean Smith deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround, as they allowed an average of 2.4 xGA per game prior to the league's suspension, but only 1.0 after the restart. Maintaining a similar level will be key to their survival again. Sheffield United's season couldn't have got off to a worse start, going 2-0 down after only six minutes against Wolves and the game was over. They struggled after that to create and were fortunate not to lose by more in a game that was a serious wake up call for Chris Wilder's side. They will need to be better here, and should get something from a tight game with few goals expected (55% U2.5) - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 6/16.8
City to be held by Wolves
Wolves vs Manchester City
Wolves got off to a great start this season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, a place where only six teams won last season. They dominated the game from start to finish, and looked extremely fresh after a short off-season which is another positive. Nuno has had great success against Pep since arriving in the Premier League, losing just one of four meetings, with Wolves holding their own on the xG front against City too. Manchester City couldn't ask for a tougher start to the new season. They were brilliant based on xG last season (2.7 xGF, 1.1 xGA pg), but conceded more 'big chances' than Wolves and Manchester United despite allowing over 100 fewer shots. Question marks remain defensively around City, and Wolves can cause them problems again, with the model calculating a 56% chance of Wolves avoiding defeat. A high-scoring game isn't expected (51% U2.5), though both teams should oblige (53% BTTS) - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 17/29.6
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Infogol's Correct Score P+L
Everton vs West Brom: Back the 2-0 @ 15/28.6
Leeds vs Fulham: Back the 2-1 @ 17/29.4
Manchester United vs Crystal Palace: Back the 2-0 @ 13/27.4
Arsenal vs West Ham: Back the 2-1 @ 17/29.4
Southampton vs Tottenham: Back the 2-2 @ 16.5
Newcastle vs Brighton: Back the 1-1 @ 6/16.8
Chelsea vs Liverpool: Back the 1-2 @ 10.5
Leicester vs Burnley: Back the 1-1 @ 15/28.4
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United: Back the 1-1 @ 6/16.8
Wolves vs Manchester City: Back the 1-1 @ 17/29.6