xG Check

xG Check, 18 Dec: Brighton chances don't tell full story

Elsewhere Milan are extremely unlucky and Nice rue a missed penalty

12:00pm on Tuesday 17th December 2019
Paul Macdonald

What is xG check?

Each week FC will aggregate the Expected Goals (xG) ratings from three respected sources and provide an average for both the home and away team. From there we will assess which matches have ended in a different manner than the xG would suggest.

EXPECTED GOALS (xG) assesses the quality of a shot based on several variables such as assist type, shot angle and distance from goal, whether it was a headed shot and whether it was defined as a big chance. From there that shot is assigned an xG score and the cumulative total of these scores provides a team's xG for a match. Stats Definition

But sometimes, xG doesn't tell the whole picture, so we also analyse the highlights of these games to look at the chances created by teams in a little more detail.

EPL Dec 16, 2019 D
  • Brighton xG: 2.35
  • Palace xG: 0.48
  • Brighton chances not as good as xG suggests

This match is a very good example of xG perhaps not quite explaining the full story. No-one watching could deny that Brighton were the better team - FC Rated them at 7.4 compared to Palace's 5.8 and they had 66% possession. But most of Brighton's high xG rating of 2.35 were tied up in two chances - one for Neal Maupay (0.88!) which produced an unbelievable - if extremely fortunate - save from Vicente Guaita.

The second, however, was a Martin Montoya touch when Guaita slightly spilled a shot. The keeper had the ball in his possession but Montoya touched it when in his arms. It's still given a high-value xG score of 0.7, despite it not actually being a chance at all. So Brighton, yes, were much better - Wilfried Zaha's equaliser carried just 0.06 value - but not as dominant from clear chances as the xG scores suggest.

ISA Dec 15, 2019 D
  • AC Milan xG: 2.2
  • Sassuolo xG: 0.9
  • Bennacer misses glaring open goal

AC Milan's 0-0 draw is another interesting fixture from an xG perspective in that Milan arguably were more dominant in the match than the xG values represent. Ismael Bennacer produced a moment not-often seen - he is completely past the goalkeeper, the goal is empty, 30 yards out, and has four supporting players. Somehow he places his shot against the leg of the defender - a much more unforgivable miss than the 0.45 xG total suggests.

Giacomo Bonaventura's (0.45) effort from close range well-blocked by the keeper also should really have been converted. Rafael Leao somehow contrived to hit the bar and the post from low xG positions (0.2 xG) total for both), but the manner in which both bounced out, rather than to waiting attackers, was very unlucky. And of course the scandalous VAR decision in the first half to chop off a goal for handball isn't included in the calculations.

FL1 Dec 14, 2019 D
  • Brest xG: 2.4
  • Nice: 1.05 xG
  • Brest miss first-half penalty

Brest's xG is significantly higher here due to the first-half missed penalty (0.75 xG) and a header from defender Denys Bain (0.5) which somehow contrived to strike the crossbar from close range. But it would be clear to any fan watching that Brest goalkeeper Gautier Larsonneur, who recorded an FC Rating of 9 for his performance, made a series of quite astounding saves. Though the Nice chances had lower xG, the performance of the goalkeeper was stunning, producing improbable stops, particularly from Wylan Cyprien where he flicked over the crossbar with a flailing hand. FC Ratings of 6.5 and 6.4 respectively gives an indication of a closer game than xG would appear.

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