xG Check

xG Check: Southampton commit crimes against shooting

The south coast side somehow contrived to lose their clash with Tottenham 5-1 despite having many of the better chances

10:00am on Monday 21st September 2020
Paul Macdonald
EPL Sep 20, 2020 L
  • Expected Goals for: 2.3
  • Expected Goals against: 2.3
  • Bad finishing and bad defending decided contest

Sometimes, just sometimes, a result completely fails to tell the story of a match, and only by viewing the 90 minutes in its entirety to truly understand what went down.

For the first 45 minutes, Tottenham are absolutely hopeless and at the mercy of Southampton's slick attacking play. Che Adams missed a total of 1.02 xG of chances within the first 20 minutes, the first effort drawing a super save from Hugo Llloris, and the second blocked on the line when he should perhaps have scored.

And yet after Danny Ings' (0.06) inspired finish low across Llloris, Southampton still led and look very comfortable until Son (0.09) lashed home from a difficult angle, and from there the complexion of the match completely changed.

Southampton appeared particularly vulnerable in defence immediately after the break and Son in particular took full advantage, racing away after the interval to slot home with his left foot (0.41).

Southampton 2-5 Tottenham: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats

And on 63 minutes he completed his hat-trick, once again running clear and sliding under Alex McCarthy's body with aplomb. A fourth came when Harry Kane's wonderful through pass was chested down by the Korean to batter into the net (0.54)

Ings' late penalty (0.76) inflated Southampton's xG slightly but the missed chances ultimately shifted the momentum of a contest which, when just looking at the scoreline, seems like an easy win for the visitors. But in fact it came down to quality of finishing and Son's four strikes on an xG of just 1.35 represents fantastic efficiency.

ISA Sep 20, 2020 D
  • Expected Goals For: 2.1
  • Expected Goals Against: 1.01
  • Sassuolo hit 33 shots in total

Sassuolo's 1-1 draw with Cagliari is an example of why we don't count shots any more.

Sassuolo still won the xG battle but had their shooting positions been better, it could have been a different result. They amassed an incredible 33 shots in the contest, but only nine of them were on target and a huge 18 of them were taken from outside the area in low-xG positions.

The hosts still dominated the contest and, ironically, one of their efforts from distance taken by Mehdi Bourabia, a direct free-kick (0.05) was the sole effort that found the net.

Teams generally try and take shots from higher xG positions these days - Sassuolo clearly didn't get the memo.

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.

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