Sporting Life's Jake Osgathorpe uses Infogol's expected goals (xG) model to predict the likely winners and scorelines of each match of an full slate of Premier League games...
"Chelsea have the best defensive process in the league since Tuchel took over (0.56 xGA per game), followed by City (0.74), and the Blues have allowed the fewest non-penalty big chances (4) in that time frame, with, you guessed it, City second (8)."
Leicester to down Toon
Leicester v Newcastle
Leicester missed a golden opportunity against 10-man Southampton last week to really firm up their place in the top four, with it being missed chances that cost them (xG: SOU 0.98 - 2.26 LEI). Despite losing seven times in 17 home games this term, the Foxes do boast a positive expected goal process (1.62 xGF, 1.29 xGA per game) at the King Power.
Newcastle were hugely disappointing against Arsenal last weekend, with a 2-0 defeat ending their four-game unbeaten run. It was their worst attacking performance for some time, with Steve Bruce's side averaging 2.29 xGF per game over their previous four.
If the Magpies can hit anywhere near that same level in attack here then they will score, but defensively they remain vulnerable, so - as per the Betting.Betfair match preview we expect both teams to score - and a high-scoring (57% O2.5) home win is expected (63% LEI) - 2-1.
Leeds to avoid defeat
Leeds v Tottenham
Leeds' defeat to Brighton last weekend was deserved, but it was their first loss in seven, and I think it may have had something to do with their gruelling schedule in which they played Man City, Liverpool and Man Utd back-to-back.
Marcelo Bielsa's side are yet to be beaten at home by a 'big six' team, drawing all five this season against those teams, so won't fear Spurs.
Tottenham remain unconvincing despite battering Sheffield United 4-0 last weekend, and away from home continue to be vulnerable, possessing a negative xG process on the road this term (1.44 xGF, 1.58 xGA per game). Leeds are given a 61% chance of getting something from this game - 1-1.
Blades to register another home win
Sheffield United v Crystal Palace
Sheffield United were thumped by Tottenham last weekend, but won their home match against Brighton prior. They have in fact won two of their last four home games, and four of their last nine at Bramall Lane.
Crystal Palace were once again poor last weekend, and have now won just one of their last eight. Attack has been a huge issue this season, and that is shown by the fact that they have generated over 1.0 xGF in just two of their last 20 league games.
Two blunt attacks face off here, so don't expect goals (65% U2.5), though the Blades can edge proceedings, with Palace's xGA per game average on the road (1.95) the third worst in the league - 1-0.
City to edge out Blues
Manchester City v Chelsea
A dress rehearsal for the Champions League final. I'm sure neither manager will want to give an inch, especially Guardiola, who has already been beaten by Tuchel this season in the FA Cup. Should Chelsea win this one, it would give them a huge psychological edge ahead of the UCL showdown.
Chelsea have the best defensive process in the league since Tuchel took over (0.56 xGA per game), followed by City (0.74), and the Blues have allowed the fewest non-penalty big chances (4) in that time frame, with, you guessed it, City second (8).
What we have here then are the two best defensive teams in the league, and perhaps in Europe, so don't expect many goals (53% U2.5), just like the FA Cup semi. City are taken to win this instalment of Pep v Thomas though (45%) - 1-0.
Reds to edge to home win
Liverpool v Southampton
Liverpool will be well-rested following the postponement of their game with Manchester United last weekend, but have won just one of 10 at Anfield, with their most recent result a 1-1 draw with Newcastle.
They have scored just five times in that time, but have been creating the chances (15.3 xGF). If their recent home performances are anything to go by, they look to be getting back on track. Klopp's side generated 2.34 xGF against Villa and 2.89 against Newcastle while allowing just 0.82 xGA and 1.07 respectively.
Southampton fought valiantly to get a point against Leicester last weekend, but they are still in rotten form, picking up just eight points from their last 15 and averaging 1.81 xGA per game in that time. Home win - 2-1.
Seagulls to go back-to-back
Wolves v Brighton
Wolves were once again disappointing on Monday night, drawing with West Brom 1-1 and looking toothless in attack. Defensively they continue to be fairly solid in general, especially at Molineux (1.25 xGA per game), despite Burnley hitting them for four last time out.
Brighton were excellent against Leeds to all but secure their Premier League status, with that win moving them 10 points clear of Fulham with four games left. That performance (xG: BHA 2.48 - 0.63 LEE) also put them back into the top four of Infogol's xG table, highlighting just how strong they have been this term.
Only Manchester City (0.80 xGA per game) and Chelsea (0.87) have been better than Brighton (1.06) defensively this season, and they can hold Wolves at bay while edging a low-scoring (59% U2.5) game - 0-1.
United to record another road win
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Aston Villa continue to be unpredictable week to week since Jack Grealish picked up his injury, with their xG process negative in his absence (1.43 xGF, 1.48 xGA per game). Their attack with him in the side was 1.84 xGF per game, while their defensive numbers was more or less the same (1.43 xGA per game), so they have missed him desperately.
Manchester United are unbeaten in 24 Premier League away matches which is astonishing. Their game last weekend against Liverpool was postponed, and they cruised in Rome on Thursday night, so should be fit and firing here.
On the road this term, United have averaged 1.63 xGF and 1.21 xGA per game, and the model thinks they will prove too strong for Villa (53% MUN win), with goals likely (54% O2.5) - 1-2.
Hammers to keep up Europe pursuit
West Ham v Everton
West Ham bounced back from successive defeats by beating Burnley 2-1 on Monday, again creating a number of good scoring chances. They haven't had an issue in that department of late, but defensively they have looked more vulnerable, which is of concern.
Fortunately, they are coming up against a fairly blunt Everton team who struggle to create good chances. While boasting a strong away record in terms of points, their xG numbers are poor, with the Toffees possessing a negative xG process (1.26 xGF, 1.42 xGA per game).
Ancelotti's side should sit in the bottom half of the table according to expected points, while West Ham are legitimate top six challengers on xG, so the model likes a home win (50%) - 2-1.
Gunners to send WBA down
Arsenal v West Brom
Arsenal were impressive against Newcastle last weekend, but shocking in midweek against Villarreal. In a game they needed to win, they really struggled to carve out decent scoring chances, and that result means they look set to go without European football for the first time since 1995-96.
At the Emirates this term, they have posted a marginally positive xG process (1.38 xGF, 1.35 xGA per game), and that again highlights that Mikel Arteta's side are a mid-table Premier League team.
West Brom are all-but mathematically down, but have given it a go, losing just one of their last five. They have averaged 1.32 xGF per game in that run, so have been more potent in attack, but it has come at a huge cost, with the Baggies allowing a whopping 2.50 xGA per game in that time.
Arsenal are taken to get a rare home win (66%), with goals expected at the Emirates (54% O2.5) - 2-1.
Burnley to end Fulham's hopes
Fulham v Burnley
Fulham look all but down following a tame performance in a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend, with the Cottagers now nine points from safety with just four games remaining. Draws have been a major issue for Scott Parker's side, but the number of draws (12) isn't a surprise given their xG process.
Defensively they aren't the worst of the relegation candidates, but their attack has let them down, scoring just 25 times in 34 games.
Burnley are a win from being mathematically safe, and have been exciting to watch of late, creating plenty of chances on a regular basis in their last six (1.71 xGF per game). In that same period though, they have allowed 1.92 xGA per game, so are vulnerable. They should get at least a point here though (63% BUR or Draw) - 1-1.
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