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EPL Analysis and GW 30 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 29 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 29

EPL Table after GW29 (Image by Author)

Game-week 29, featured only 4 games with 12 teams having no fixtures. All top for teams blanked in the game-week, however, the top 4 positions remains unchanged after GW29.

After Game-week 29 Man City is on top of the table with 71 points,14 points clear of their city rivals. Manchester United is in the second position with 57 points. Leicester City at the heels of the Red Devils, just behind by a single point. Chelsea with 51 points completes the top 4.
Hammers and Spurs who played in the GW 29 are in the 5th and 6th position.

Hammers settled for a draw against their city rivals the Gunners. Spurs secured three points from their outing at Villa Park. The defending champions slipped to the 7th position, ahead of the Toffees by goal difference. Arsenal and Villa at 9th and 10 positions complete the top half.

The Blades and the Sparrows with 14 and 18 points respectively are the bottom two teams. Fulham had a chance of getting out of the relegation zone by securing a win against the Peacocks. However, after a very interesting match, Scott Parker’s men were handed a 1–2 defeat by Bielsa’s boys.

The Seagulls secured their consecutive second win in the league, and are now 6 points clear of the relegation zone. The Magpies who lost their match against the Seagulls are in a very difficult position, just 3 points clear of the relegation zone.

xG scored and conceded per game (Image by Author)

After 29 game-weeks, 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. They are followed by the other top four teams who have scored more than 1.5 xG per game. The highly unpredictable Leeds are the sixth best team in terms of xG scored.

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, failing to produce even 1 xG per game.

Manchester City with around 0.75 xG conceded per game, seems to the the best defensive unit despite conceding a few goals in the recent matches.
Tuchel’s Chelsea which seems to be impenetrable is at a close second position. The Seagulls are the only other team which has conceded less than 1 xG per game.

Most teams concede between 1 to 1.5 xG per game. West Brom, Sheffield United and Leeds have failed to stop their opponents from creating goal scoring opportunities, having 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 difference 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.

Delta xG (Image by Author)

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 16th position in the table as they lack quality strikers up front.

Game Week 30Predictions

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 29 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.

Predicted Results (Image by Author)

There are five matches with more than 0.20 delta xG predicted.

Chelsea vs West Brom is predicted to be the most one sided match of the weekend with the Blues estimated to secure 3 points comfortably.
The league leaders, Man City are also expected to secure a comfortable 3 points from their visit to the King Power stadium, against the Foxes who are at the third place. The match is also expected to be a high scoring one.
Spurs have a good chance of securing three points from their visit to the Magpies, keeping their top 4 hopes alive.
Leeds and Everton who host the Blades and the Eagles respectively, also have a very good chance of securing 3 points. Leeds vs the Blades is expected to be a high scoring game.

Delta xG Predicted (Image by Author)

The Red Devils vs Brighton match is predicted to be the most evenly contested match of the weekend with the Seagulls, who are at 16th position having and slight edge against the team at the second position.
Southampton vs Burnley is expected to be a low scorer, with the Saints expected to be the better team.
The most anticipated match of the weekend would be the super Saturday clash between the Gunners and the Reds. The match is estimated to be a goal fest, with the Reds expected to come on top.

Aston Villa and West Ham can expect to secure victory despite tough opposition from their opponents, Fulham and the Wolves.

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How the Predictions fare against the Actual Results will be updated after the Game-Week

Photo by Tim Bechervaise on Unsplash



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Abhijith Chandradas

Abhijith Chandradas

Data Analyst | Hacker | Financial Analyst | Freelancer | IIM MBA | Opensource | Democratize Knowledge |