Toffees to remain unbeaten
Everton vs Liverpool
Arguably the stand out tie of the weekend to get us going. Premier League leaders Everton have been excellent so far this season, and rightly sit top of the table according to expected goals, boasting an impressive process through four games (2.34 xGF, 0.93 xGA pg). Defensively they look more solid, while their attack has clicked straight away this season. The only concern I have is surrounding Jordan Pickford, who, based on xG2 (on target attempts from GK perspective, he has been the second worse keeper so far this season. Liverpool were thumped 7-2 in their last outing, a loss that highlighted some severe defensive vulnerabilities. So far this season, the Reds have allowed 1.76 xGA from one-on-one situations (30% of total xGA). Over the course of last season, they allowed 2.35 xGA from 1 v 1's. It is a clear weakness that has been punished this season, and Everton could find some joy. The Infogol model calculate a 54% chance of Everton avoiding defeat, with both teams netting (57% BTTS) - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 9.89/1
Narrow Chelsea win
Chelsea vs Southampton
Though Chelsea won 4-0 against Crystal Palace last time out, I still feel as though they are yet to get going. Lampard's side have seen their numbers boosted by penalties (4), and in total they have averaged 1.15 non-pen xGF per game - not great given they have played Brighton, West Brom and Palace. Southampton got their season started with back-to-back losses, but bounced back with back-to-back wins over Burnley and West Brom, so will be full of confidence heading into this game. The Saints have posted decent enough underlying numbers thus far (1.38 xGF, 1.13 xGA pg), and have the tools to hurt Chelsea on the counter attack, just as they did last season in a 2-0 win in this fixture. We expect the Blues to win (64% CHE), and for their to be goals (61% O2.5, 56% BTTS), but don't expect Chelsea to run up a big score - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.417/2
Another unconvincing City performance
Manchester City vs Arsenal
Manchester City have not been themselves this season, in both attack and defence. They were fortunate to escape with a point against Leeds last time out (xG: LEE 2.71 - 1.45 MCI), failing to register a single big chance (>35%) in the game. Defensively they continue to get exposed, but their attack is usually consistently good, and hasn't got going this season (1.38 non-pen xGF pg). Arsenal won one of the dullest Premier League games of the season last time out, beating Sheffield United in a game with a combined 12 shots equating to 0.72 xG. Like City, Arsenal's attack hasn't yet fired (1.35 xGF pg), and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has averaged just 0.08 xG/avg match this season - staggeringly low for their main threat. Defensively they are improving, and the last time these teams met in the FA Cup, the Gunners played with a low-block that thwarted City. I expect the same approach here, but fancy City to prevail this time (64% MCI), though it won't be convincing. Goals are likely though (66% O2.5, 60% BTTS) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.617/2
United to get back on track
Newcastle vs Manchester United
Newcastle have made a steady start to the season, picking up seven points from four matches, rightly winning against Burnley last time out. However, a glance at their underlying numbers again shows overperformance. They have averaged 0.87 non-pen xGF and 1.53 non-pen xGA per game through four matches, so haven't really improved on last season. Manchester United were humiliated in their last Premier League outing, getting thrashed 6-1 by Tottenham in what was a shocking display (xG: MUN 0.99 - 3.71 TOT). They have been simply awful so far this season, losing to Palace and being extremely fortunate to beat Brighton, posting a horrendous process (1.41 xGF, 2.82 xGA pg). I think they will come good eventually, and this is a decent game for that to happen against a Newcastle team struggling to create. The model gives United a 58% chance of winning here, though don't expect goals (52% U2.5, 48% BTTS) - 0-2.
Back the 0-2 @ 9.89/1
Dull Blades win
Sheffield United vs Fulham
Sheffield United have lost all four matches so far this season, but have performed much better than results would suggest. They sit 13th in our xG table through gameweek four, and their process hasn't been terrible against some tough opponents (0.97 xGF, 1.19 xGA pg). Fulham have also lost all four this campaign, and have interestingly played the same teams as United. The Cottagers have posted far inferior underlying numbers to the Blades against the same sides (0.97 xGF, 1.80 xGA pg)56. They have struggled greatly so far, and I expect that to continue here. This is a good game for Sheffield United to get points on the board (59% SHU), though there will likely be a dearth of goals at the Lane (62% U2.5, 38% BTTS) - 1-0.
Back the 1-0 @ 7.413/2
All square in M23 derby
Crystal Palace vs Brighton
Crystal Palace started the season well before losing their last two, with the defeat at Chelsea a worrying one, as the Eagles generated just 0.14 xGF. Their process so far (1.06 xGF, 1.98 xGA pg) is very similar to what we saw over the course of last season, which was very disappointing. Brighton have been one of the more impressive sides in this early Premier League season, performing extremely well despite a tough schedule (1.86 xGF, 1.46 xGA pg). Graham Potter's side have found a formula that seems to be working, and I fancy their chances of avoiding defeat at Selhurst (61% BHA or Draw) in a low-scoring game (58% U2.5) - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 6.86/1
Spurs to edge out improving Hammers
Tottenham vs West Ham
I have to admit, I have been quietly impressed with Tottenham ever since their second half display at Southampton. It appears Jose Mourinho's side are well up to speed now after a hectic opening month, and that certainly was the case against both Newcastle and Manchester United. While they didn't win both of those matches, they deserved to based on xG, racking up a combined 7.2 xGF while allowing just 0.46 non-pen xGA. The early signs are that Mourinho has found a formula. West Ham have been equally as impressive so far this season. They have won the xG battle in all of their last three games by an aggregate of 7.04 - 2.53, which is incredible given they have played Arsenal, Wolves and Leicester in that time. The Hammers shouldn't be underestimated here, but the model thinks Spurs should get the three points (54% TOT), with goals likely (58% O2.5, 57% BTTS) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.417/2
Foxes to inflict first loss on Villa
Leicester vs Aston Villa
Leicester were looking a really dangerous side once again this season before being hammered at home 3-0 by West Ham, which did raise some serious question marks. They have undoubted quality in their side, but they have been so reliant on penalties this season to get their points. Penalties have accounted for 51% of their total xG so far this campaign. Aston Villa inflicted the most unpredictable defeat on Liverpool in their last game, winning 7-2 at Villa Park thanks to a really good attacking display in which they created six big chances (>35%). While that result is hard to ignore, it is worth noting that their two prior games were against a Sheffield United team who played with 10-men from the 10th minute and a Fulham team who have so far looked poor. It will be interesting to see if they can continue their good form against a decent Leicester side. The Infogol model gives the hosts a 63% chance of winning here in a high-scoring game (63% O2.5, 58% BTTS) - 2-1.
Back the 2-1 @ 9.89/1
Baggies and Burnley to settle for point
West Brom vs Burnley
Its fair to say that West Brom have been really poor so far this season, and they are fortunate to have picked up any points through four matches according to xG. They sit rock-bottom of our xG table with the worst attack (1.8 xGF pg) and worst defence (10.4 xGA pg) in the league. Burnley then, will be hopeful of getting points on the board here, and their displays have shown much more promise than the Baggies'. They have allowed just 1.02 non-pen xGA per game so far, but have struggled to create (0.78 xGF pg). That could well change now though, as key attacking players are back to full fitness. The Infogol model makes the Clarets favourites in this game with a 38% chance of winning, and gives them a 66% chance of avoiding defeat. Expect a cagey game (55% U2.5), and one that could result in a draw - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 6.86/1
Stalemate between two strong sides
Leeds vs Wolves
Leeds have made a dream start to the new campaign having picked up seven points from a possible 12, and having already played the best two teams in the league. They impressed greatly against Manchester City last time out, winning the xG battle comfortably (xG: LEE 2.71 - 1.45 MCI), and that was the first game in which they created numerous 'big chances'. Wolves put their back-to-back defeats behind them with a deserved win over lowly Fulham, as they aim to get back to their solid best after conceding seven in two games. These two teams are an intriguing match-up. One team that likes to play a high, intense press and the other who is happy to sit deep and counter. In fact, 42% of the xG Wolves have created this season has come from 'fast breaks'. We expect Wolves to avoid defeat here (72% WOL or Draw), in a low-scoring encounter (65% U2.5) - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 7.06/1
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