Many say the Premier League is difficult to predict, but data can help us. Infogol's Steven Railston uses expected goals (xG) to predict winners and scorelines of each match in Gameweek 10.
"With an array of attacking talent, Chelsea have averaged 1.8 xGF per game, and while this is impressive, there’s a tantalising feeling that they are still yet to reach first gear – a frightening prospect."
Eagles can edge the Magpies
Crystal Palace vs Newcastle
Wilfried Zaha's importance to Crystal Palace can't be understated. Seemingly every threatening passage of play Palace orchestrate goes through Zaha, and therefore it's not a surprise they failed to score against Burnley on Monday evening in his absence (xG: BUR 1.6 - 1.4 CRY). Zaha will be unavailable again for this game, however, it might not matter, as Palace have looked comfortable against teams currently in the bottom half of the table, averaging 1.6 xGF per game against such opposition. As usual, Newcastle will sit deep here, which painfully isolates Callum Wilson who leads their line, and the North East club are averaging just 0.8 non-penalty xG per game. For perspective, only Sheffield United (0.8) and West Brom (0.6) have averaged less, and it's inevitable Newcastle will soon be dragged into a relegation battle if that continues. Consequently, this game show be low scoring, and the Infogol model agrees (59% U2.5), while predicting the Eagles (43%) can just edge this clash.
Liverpool to win at the Amex
Brighton vs Liverpool
Expected goals suggest Brighton have been playing well without securing the results their performances perhaps merit, so their win at Villa Park was a timely boost for Graham Potter's men (xG: AVL 2.2 - 1.4 BRI). Their process (1.5 xGF and 1.3 xGA pg) is worthy of a side in the top half of the table, and interestingly, Brighton won the xG battle against Liverpool when these two sides last met at the Amex Stadium post-break (xG: BRI 2.88 - 2.68 LIV). The champions had already clinched the Premier League title at that stage, though, and they've so far looked impressive this term. According to expected goals, no team boasts a better attack this season in England's topflight, with Liverpool once again consistently creating an abundance of goalscoring opportunities (2.5 xGF pg). With Mohamed Salah now back (0.8 xG/avg match), Liverpool (61%) should have too much for the Seagulls, and the Infogol model believes one team, most likely, Brighton could fail to score (47% BTTS No).
Comfortable win for Manchester City
Man City vs Burnley
It's fair to say Manchester City haven't been at their best this season, looking unusually inefficient in attack for their lofty standards (1.6 xGF pg). While they created more xG against Tottenham, they were ultimately second best (xG: TOT 0.7 - 2.1 MCI), and Pep Guardiola will be hoping for a reaction here against Burnley. Fortunately for the Spaniard, City have scored 16 goals (2.8 xGF pg) against the Clarets across their last five Premier League meetings, and the Infogol model unsurprisingly makes them heavy favourites to win here (74%). Burnley finally won their first game of the campaign on Monday, narrowly beating Crystal Palace (xG: BUR 1.6 - 1.4 CRY). However, while they've admirably defended with grit this term (1.2 xGA pg), the odds are stacked against them at the Etihad. The Infogol model predicts there will be goals (67% O2.5), and the hosts should win with minimal fuss.
Back the 3-0 @ 7.413/2
The points to be shared on Merseyside
Everton vs Leeds
Everton are aiming for back-to-back victories here, after putting an end to their string of losses with a win away at Fulham on Saturday (xG: FUL 1.9 - 2.0 EVE). While Everton looked menacing in attack, they still showed glimpses of weakness at the back, and this has been the story of their season so far (1.7 xGF, 1.5 xGA pg). Like Everton, Leeds have encountered the same problems, although their most recent performance against Arsenal, albeit with Gunners going down to ten men, was a step in the right direction (xG: LEE 2.0 - 0.8 ARS). Furthermore, it's worth noting Marcelo Bielsa's side are actually a tighter defensive unit when playing away (1.3 xGA pg), and they won't need reminding of the potent threat of Dominic Calvert-Lewin (0.8 xG/avg match). It would be no surprise to see Everton's talisman get onto the scoresheet again, although the Infogol model doesn't believe this will be a high scoring game (53% U2.5). Leeds can leave with a point, in a fixture which should be tightly contested.
Blades to put West Brom to the sword
West Brom vs Sheff Utd
This fixture already has the hallmarks of a relegation 'must win' game for both sides. West Brom have been truly abysmal since returning to the Premier League and their underlying numbers don't offer much encouragement for a turnaround in form (0.6 xGF, 2.0 xGA pg). According to expected goals, they are the worst team in the league, but despite this, they still have more points (3) than Sheffield United (1). The Blades are creating chances but are crucially failing to take them, racking up 9.8 xG, yet still only scoring four goals this term. It's likely this significant underperformance will only improve as the season progresses, and Sheff Utd showed enough against West Ham in stages to suggest their time to secure a win is nearing (xG: SHU 1.0 - 2.3 WHU). The Infogol model makes the visitors favourites to win (43%), and a dull game is predicted (60% BTTS No) given both sides poor attacking records.
Saints to succumb to Red Devils
Southampton vs Man Utd
Southampton currently sit fifth in the Premier League, after remarkably taking 17 points from nine games. Although initially taking the lead against Wolves on Monday (xG: WOL 1.86 - 0.89 SOU), the Saints created less chances on goal, and they're perhaps fortunate to sit so high in the table. Only four teams have created fewer attacking opportunities than Southampton (1.2 xGF pg) and with Danny Ings still injured, they may struggle to test Manchester United. Contrary to sensational headlines, the Red Devils are improving in defence, and since the penultimate international break they've conceded an average of just 0.9 xGA in the Premier League and Champions League. It's only a matter of time before they begin to ascend the table and they can return to Manchester with the three points (50%) and a clean sheet (46% BTTS No).
Chelsea to win the battle at the Bridge
Chelsea vs Tottenham
Chelsea are now starting to resemble potential title challengers under Frank Lampard, having lost just once this season. Their most recent win against Newcastle was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests, with the Blues stamping their authority from the first whistle (xG: NEW 0.5 - 2.0 CHE). With an array of attacking talent, Chelsea have averaged 1.8 xGF per game, and while this is impressive, there's a tantalising feeling that they are still yet to reach second gear - a frightening prospect. Tottenham have also looked outstanding in attack, and while Spurs have created more chances (2.0 xGF pg) than Chelsea (22), they've actually found the back of the net less (21). Their defensive record is also inferior, and while City couldn't find a way past Hugo Lloris last weekend (xG: TOT 0.7 - 2.1 MCI), Chelsea might have no such problem. The hosts can win (57%), but Tottenham won't go quietly and are predicted to score (59% BTTS).
Wolves to frustrate Arsenal
Arsenal vs Wolves
There's no denying Arsenal have been underwhelming this campaign, and their draw away at Leeds was another disappointing result, mostly because of Nicolas Pépé's moment of idiocy (xG: LEE 2.0 - 0.8 ARS). The Gunners aren't firing this term (1.20 xGF pg) , and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's sudden loss of form is a serious problem for Mikel Arteta, with his captain generating a measly 0.7 non-penalty xG in the Premier League. To make matters worse, they're now pitted against one of the league's most astute defensive sides - Wolves. Since their heavy defeat at West Ham, Wolves have been tremendous at the back, conceding an average of just 1.1 xGA per game. With Arsenal also excelling in defence recently according to xG, the Infogol model calculates a 62% chance there will be less than three goals in this fixture. The points will likely be shared, in a low scoring game.
Leicester to enjoy home comforts
Leicester vs Fulham
Leicester have established themselves as one of the Premier League's strongest sides in recent seasons, and they've excelled in attack once again this term (1.8 xGF pg). However, the Foxes looked woeful against a depleted Liverpool last weekend (xG: LIV 4.4 - 1.7 LEI), although they won't be the last team to struggle against the champions this season. Now up against Fulham, they have the perfect opportunity to bounce back, with the London club already looking likely to be relegated. Scott Parker's insistence on playing out from the back has left them vulnerable in defence (1.8 xGA pg) on more than one occasion, but it has allowed them to create chances, with Fulham averaging 1.3 xGF per game. The Infogol model predicts Leicester will win (59%), with plenty of goals (51% O2.5) at the King Power Stadium, and Jamie Vardy (1.2 xG/avg match) will surely be relishing the chance to play against Fulham's shaky back line.
West Ham to draw with Aston Villa
West Ham vs Aston Villa
West Ham have made a brilliant start to the new season, and while they've not entirely convinced in their last two fixtures, the Irons have still won, most recently against Sheff Utd (xG: SHU 1.0 - 2.3 WHU). They've now scored just one goal in four consecutive matches, though, averaging just 1.1 xGF per game across that period. Aston Villa currently sit one point ahead of West Ham, despite tasting their third defeat of the campaign against Brighton on Sunday (xG: AVL 2.2 - 1.4 BRI). That result was unfortunate, and Villa fans will bemoan the late VAR decision that didn't go their way, but their underlying numbers are good enough to seek compensation in London (1.9 xGF, 1.4 xGA pg). The Infogol model makes West Ham favourites (48%) but Villa should have enough to ensure the points are shared (56% BTTS).
Crystal Palace vs Newcastle: Back the 1-0 @ 7.6]
Brighton vs Liverpool: Back the 1-2 @ 12.5
Manchester City vs Burnley: Back the 3-0 @ 7.413/2
Everton vs Leeds: Back the 1-1 @ 8.27/1
West Brom vs Sheff Utd: Back the 1-2 @ 12.011/1
Southampton vs Man Utd: Back the 0-2 @ 11.010/1
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Back the @ 2-1 8.07/1
Arsenal vs Wolves: Back the @ 1-1 7.06/1
Leicester vs Fulham: Back the 3-1 @ 13.5
West Ham vs Aston Villa: Back the 2-0 @ 8.07/1