The Premier League heads into GW36 throughout midweek, and Jake Osgathorpe looks at the games using expected goals (xG) to assess the likely winners and scorelines of each match...
"The Hornets have struggled on the road all season long (0.9 xGF, 1.8 xGA pg), and should do so again here. In what is a huge game, with a win likely to confirm survival, the Infogol model makes West Ham 45% favourites to win this one."
Wolves to go back-to-back
Burnley vs Wolves
Burnley became the first Premier League team to pick up a point at Anfield this season, and while they were fortunate to avoid defeat, that draw means they have lost only one of their last 13 league games (@ MCI). Wolves bounced back from successive defeats in impressive style, running out 30 winners over Everton in what was their best attacking game since the break (3.2 xGF). Away from home they are excellent (1.5 xGF, 1.1 xGA pg), and should edge to another win (51%) against a stubborn Burnley team, though BTTS 'no' is more likely than not (51%) - 0-1.
Back the 0-1 @ 6.411/2
Another thumping City win
Manchester City vs Bournemouth
After an undeserved loss at Southampton, it's fair to say that Manchester City have bounced back emphatically, winning 5-0 against Newcastle and then Brighton. Their last four league games have seen City rack up 14.4 xGF and allow just 2.3 xGA, so are in imperious and ruthless form. Bournemouth picked up four points from games against Tottenham and Leicester to keep themselves within three points of safety, and they won the xG battle in both of those matches. This is a different proposition though, and the Cherries have allowed 2.0 xGA per game on the road this season. City should win comfortably (86%) in a high-scoring game (63% O3.5) in which Bournemouth get a consolation (54% BTTS) - 4-1.
Spurs away struggles to continue
Newcastle vs Tottenham
Newcastle's loss at Watford at the weekend was their second in a row, but prior to that had been unbeaten in six league games, posting some decent underlying numbers. They aren't playing for anything, but have lost only three home games out of 17 this season. Tottenham edged an underwhelming North London derby, and rightly so according to xG (TOT 2.1 - 0.7 ARS). That was their third home win in a row, but Spurs have major issues on the road, winning just three of 17 and posting poor xG numbers (1.3 xGF, 1.8 xGA pg). If their display at Bournemouth last week is anything to go by, then Spurs winning is best avoided, and the model calculates a 55% chance of Newcastle or Draw here, with BTTS rated as a 59% chance - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 8.27/1
Reds to hamper Arsenal European chances
Arsenal vs Liverpool
Arsenal gave Spurs a helping hand in the North London derby, but in the end they rightly lost having allowed 2.1 xGA. In their seven games since the restart, while they have looked better at the back (1.3 xGA pg), it has come at a cost, as Mikel Arteta's side have generated an average of just 1.2 xGF pg. Liverpool deserved the three points against Burnley at the weekend (LIV 2.0 - 0.8 BUR) in what was a better performance than both previous wins over Aston Villa and Brighton. The champions can still break Manchester City's 100-point record but need to win all of their games to do so. The model thinks they will win at the Emirates (53%), with goals on the cards (58% O2.5, 58% BTTS) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 9.89/1
Everton to pile pressure on Villa
Everton vs Aston Villa
It is fair to say that Everton have been poor since the restart, and especially in their last three games. Their process has taken a serious turn for the worst of late, going from averaging more than 2.0 xGF per game under Carlo Ancelotti to just 0.8 pg since the break, though they come up against a poor Villa defence here. Aston Villa got three points from a must-win match against Crystal Palace, ending a 10-game winless run. Away from home they have won just two of 17, with a horrendous process (1.2 xGF, 2.4 xGA pg). Everton are taken to get back to winning ways (64%) in an entertaining encounter (64% O2.5, 58% BTTS) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.617/2
Rare Leicester win to halt Blades charge
Leicester vs Sheffield United
Leicester imploded against Bournemouth on Sunday, comfortably leading 1-0 at HT before a complete collapse that leaves them in the top four on goal difference only. Their form since Christmas has been so up and down, winning 5 and drawing 5 of their 17 league games, though at home they do possess a steady process (1.6 xGF, 1.3 xGA pg). Sheffield United have come back to life after a sluggish restart, winning three home games in a row against Tottenham, Wolves and Chelsea, meaning they are just five points behind the Foxes. The Blades have lost only four times on the road this season (17 games), but they have been fortunate that is the case, with a bottom half away process (1.0 xGF, 1.6 xGA pg). Leicester are fancied to get a huge win in their push for the Champions League (54%), with goals anticipated (56% O2.5, 56% BTTS) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 10.09/1
United to edge to narrow win
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United
After winning four in a row, Crystal Palace have now lost five in a row, scoring in just one of those games (vs CHE). In fact, Palace have won just four of their last 16 league games, losing eight, so look to be coasting into the 2020/21 with a process of 1.1 xGF and 1.7 xGA pg. Manchester United conceded a very late equaliser against Southampton on Monday, resulting a fair draw, but it was a huge missed opportunity for Ole's side, who could have jumped up to 3rd with a win. That draw extends United's unbeaten league run to 11 games, and on the road this season they have been steady (1.6 xGF, 1.2 xGA pg). United are taken to get a big win (57%), but don't expect them to keep a clean sheet (50% BTTS), with over 2.5 goals more likely than not (51%) - 1-2.
Back the 1-2 @ 9.89/1
Brighton to gain invaluable point
Southampton vs Brighton
Southampton earned a deserved point on Monday against Manchester United, meaning they have lost just one game since the restart. Their home form has always been a cause for concern, winning just five of 17, and that isn't a surprise given their underlying numbers at St Mary's (1.4 xGF, 1.8 xGA pg). Brighton were hammered by Manchester City (4.7 xGA) at the weekend, but gave Liverpool a real run for their money last midweek (BHA 2.9 - 2.7 LIV). Graham Potter's side aren't yet safe (5 points above drop zone), but their away process is the 10th best in the league (1.4 xGF, 1.7 xGA pg). Brighton can get an invaluable point here (54% BHA or Draw), in an entertaining game (62% O2.5, 63% BTTS) - 2-2.
Back the 2-2 @ 18.017/1
Hammers to win and all-but confirm safety
West Ham vs Watford
West Ham have impressed greatly ever since their dire performance against Tottenham, racking up over 2.0 xGF in all of their last four games, and a total of 10.9 in that time (2.7 xGF pg), while allowing just 4.7 xGA (1.2 xGA pg). Watford won both of their home games last week to keep themselves three points above the drop, creating and conceding good chances in both games. The Hornets have struggled on the road all season long (0.9 xGF, 1.8 xGA pg), and should do so again here. In what is a huge game, with a win likely to confirm survival, the Infogol model makes West Ham 45% favourites to win this one, but goals should follow between these two sides (65% O2.5, 65% BTTS) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 10.519/2
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