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EPL Analysis and GW 28 Prediction

A data-driven attempt in predicting English Premier League results using xG Statistics

This is an article on my EPL Prediction series. You can check out the prediction for Game Week 27 and how it fared against the actual performance here.

Expected Goals or xG is the parameter used for prediction. If you are interested in understanding the algorithm for prediction, I recommend that you check out this article where it is explained in detail.

Analysis up to Game-week 27

The Premier League seems to be very interesting at the moment. As Klopp said, it appears that City is running away with the title. However the competition is very fierce for the top 4 finish. Just 9 points separates the team placed second from the team placed 7th. We may have a completely different top 4 after just two gameweeks.

EPL Table (Image by Author)

Gameweek 28 exposed cracks in Man City’s armor. Man United and Soton were able to score 2 goals each against the Man City defense. The Red Devils, who are second in the league managed to beat their city rivals in the Manchester derby. However, after game week 28, Manchester City are on top of the table 14 points clear of their city rivals.
Pep Guardiola’s side already has one hand on the league. However, the race for the remaining 3 champions league spots are still up for grabs.
Leicester is in third position just one point behind the Red Devils. Chelsea unbeaten under Tuchel, is at the fourth position with 50 points. The Hammers, Spurs and Everton are also aiming a top 4 finish having accumulated 48,46 and 45 points respectively having played only 27 games. The defending champions continues their losing streak at Anfield after losing to relegation battling Fulham, failing to score.

xG Scored vs xG Conceded (Image by Author)

After 27 gameweeks, Man City dominates both attack and defense as it has the highest xG scored and the lowest xG conceded per game. The Reds are still in second position despite their dismal attacking performance in the recent games. Man United who leads the pack in goals scored is at third position with respect to xG scored. Leeds and Chelsea have also created more than 1.5xG per game.

Crystal Palace, Burnley, New Castle, Sheffield United and West Brom struggling with creativity are at the bottom of the league in terms of xG scored per game.

Manchester City seems to the the best defensive unit despite conceding 4 goals in 2 games of the last gameweek.
Chelsea is the only other team which have conceded less than 1 xG per game. After Tuchel took charge, Chelsea has conceded only 2 goals in 9 games. Potters who are battling relegation is the unlikely third best defensive side with respect to xG conceded.

Most teams concede between 1 to 1.5 xG per game. West Brom and Leeds have conceded more than 1.5xG per game.

xG Scored vs xG Conceded (Image by Author)

Based on xG Scored and xG Conceded, teams can be grouped into 4 quadrants as shown in the above graph.
The horizontal dotted line shows the average xG scored per game. Teams above the horizontal dotted line are strong attacking sides and the teams below, weak in attack.
The vertical dotted line shows the average xG conceded per game. Teams to the left have a strong defense and the teams to the right have week defense.

Delta xG (Image by Author)

Man City is head and shoulders above the other teams with respect to delta xG, with a differece of more than 1 between xG scored and xG conceded. Liverpool and Chelsea are the the only other teams with delta xG above 0.5. West Brom on the other hand is struggling at both ends of the pitch with the weakest attack and porous defense. Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Burnley also ranks very low under delta xG.

xG scored and conceded per game

Leeds United ranks among the top in xG created per match. However, the team has negative delta xG as opponents find it easy to penetrate the Leeds defense, something Bielsa has to immediately look into. Wolves on the other hand is a good team defensively, but they lack the strike force with Raul Jiminez out due to injury.

Brighton as per the delta-xG table is placed at 4 position, however they are in the 17th position in the table as they lack quality strikers up front.

Game Week 28 Predictions

Before proceeding to the predictions, let me clarify that this is a very simple algorithm just based on past xG, so only baseline performance can be expected. The algorithm also fails to predict high scoring games. The model also does not take into account the team selection, absence of players due to injuries/suspension, formation, tactical changes etc.

However, the model has been performing pretty well in predicting the momentum of the matches. You can check out how the actual performance fared against the predictions made for the previous game week below.

Predictions for Game Week 28 are provided in the table below.
The absolute value of GD shows the competitiveness of the match. The higher the value, more one sided the match is expected to be and higher the accuracy of prediction.
The lower the value of GD, the more the match could be anybody’s game. Positive value of GD means Home win and Negative value means Away team win.

GW 28 Predictions(Image by Author)

This gameweek seems to be in favor the away teams, except the Foxes taking on the Blades at the King Power Stadium.
Man City vs Fulham is expected to be the most one sided match of the gameweek, Man City is expected to secure three points comfortably.
Chelsea, Brighton, Liverpool and Villa are also expected to win their away outings comfortably this weekend.

The North London Derby which is the most anticipated match of the Gameweek also seems to be the most closely contested match of the weekend. The algorithm slightly favor the hosts, the Gunners. However, considering the current form of Mourinho’s men, the Gunners securing 3 points looks highly unlikely.

GW 28 predicted delta xG (Image by Author)

The Red Devils take on the Hammers on a crucial match at the Old Trafford. The algorithm predicts a closely contested match, slightly in favor of Ole’s men.
The Toffees and the Eagles can expect high resistance from the visitors, but are also expected to outperform their rivals at home this week.

Predictions vs Actual Results

Predicted vs actual delta xG(Image by author)

The algorithm predicted 7 outcomes accurately out of 10 with an accuracy of 70%. There were three results with an expected delta xG of more than 0.4. The algorithm was able to predict all three of them right.
North London Derby was estimated to be a very close match with slightly in favor of Arsenal. However, xG stats indicate that the Gunners were the better team on the field and deserved the three points.

The algorithm predicted Brighton, Liverpool and the Villans to outperform their hosts in their away fixtures. The former two won three points whereas the later conceded a last minute draw. xG stats indicate that the hosts put up a better show on the field.

Photo by Tim Bechervaise on Unsplash

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Abhijith Chandradas

Abhijith Chandradas

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Data Analyst | Hacker | Financial Analyst | Freelancer | IIM MBA | Opensource | Democratize Knowledge | https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLpBd4gzfIBXm2BPpdHOWdQ