How often do you hear: ‘He’s got to score that?’ or ‘If he had 100 attempts, how many would he score?”
Hypothetical questions, you would think? Apparently not.
Here is your crash course on what exactly an expected goal is.
These alien statistics are measure by percentage, and compiled by various factors including:
- Distance from the goal
- Angle from the goal
- Header or at the feet
- Stronger or weaker foot
- Was it one on one
- Method of assist: I.E pull back, long ball, through ball etc
- Was it a rebound
- Has the player beaten a defender
So, if the ball is rolled across the six yard box, you might have a 95% chance of scoring.
Whereas if you’re hitting a David Platt-esque volley over the shoulder from 35 yards, you might be looking at 0.2%.
It is easy to ridicule this new stat because, well, it is still arguably subjective.
Yet it does give us an indication of efficiency if nothing else.
Let’s take a look at some teams this year to see if they are fulfilling the ‘expected’ number of goals.
Arsenal are the most prolific team so far this season, having scored 22 goals so far this campaign while they have been predicted 13.5.
Unsurprisingly, Southampton are on the other end of the spectrum. They have scored six so far this season, as opposed to their expected 11.4.
With critics praising Arsenal’s strike partnership of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, while Southampton are clearly struggling for goals this term – it appears the statistic does reflect some truths.
In terms of individuals, there is no surprise who is top of the list – Eden Hazard.
The Belgian is flying this year and has been deadly accurate, grabbing seven goals so far this season, while he has only been expected a meagre 4.1.
While Hazard has been on top, Gabriel Jesus has been the least prolific so far (you can breathe a sigh of relief, Romelu Lukaku.)
The young Brazilian has one goal to his name so far this season, while he has been predicted 3.5.
So, there we have it, your no thrills introduction to expected goals.
Football existed and worked long before this, and we doubt anything will really change massively.
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