Arsenal are picking up more points than the expected goal stats suggest they should be, according to software company Gracenote.
Gracenote Sports put together an Expected Goals Premier League table for the season so far. To understand how it works, first, you have to understand expected goals.
Expected goals are a calculation of how likely it is for a player to score based on various factors, such as the distance and angle of a shot from the goal, the number of players between the shooter and the goal, the manner that the ball was played into the shooter, and so on.
From those factors, statisticians calculate how likely a player is to score that chance. If they’re 50% likely to score, the xG for the chance is 0.5. Add up the xG for all the chances in the match and you have the number of goals you’d expect that team to score.
Gracenote took it one step further, by taking the xG for each team in each match and evaluating who they’d expect to win. If Arsenal had an xG of 2.0 in a match, and their opponent had an xG of 1.0, you’d expect Arsenal to pick up three points.
Based on xG, Gracenote calculated that Arsenal should only have picked up seven points this season. Instead, the Gunners have 15. It’s the biggest jump of any Premier League team so far and, according to that calculation, Arsenal should be 12th.
— Arsènic™ (@MrArsenicTM) September 30, 2018
What does that mean?
Most likely it means that Arsenal aren’t creating enough high-quality chances at the moment, and they’re being bailed out by good finishing. That and they’re getting lucky with opponents who can’t finish.
The Gunners are fortunate to have the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to finish opportunities for them, but nonetheless, this sort of anomaly doesn’t tend to last. Either you start creating better chances, or you stop scoring goals.
Let’s hope Emery finds the right balance in the team to change things before Arsenal start getting punished for it.