Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is top of the Premier League for expected goals this season, proving it’s no accident that he’s up with the top scorers in the division.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 01: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (14) and Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrate victory after the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on April 01, 2019, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Understat provide expected goals data for Premier League players, so let’s take a look at their top five in the division ordered by xG:

  1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 18.74
  2. Mohamed Salah – 18.64
  3. Sergio Aguero – 17.80
  4. Harry Kane – 16.05
  5. Jamie Vardy – 14.78

For those needing an explanation, expected goals are simply a statistical evaluation of the probability that you’ll score any given chance. If a five-yard sitter with no defenders around is scored 90% of the time, the chance would be given 0.9 xG. A random potshot from 30 yards is much less likely to go in, so it might be given 0.01xG, for example.

This allows you to predict whether a player is going to keep scoring at the rate they have been so far. If a striker has 10 goals but his expected goals total is only 5, he’s probably getting lucky. If he has 10 goals and his expected goals total is 15, you’d expect he’ll start putting away a few more chances soon enough.

Aubameyang’s goal tally for the campaign is 17, with an expected goals total of 18.74. The striker has missed a few sitters this season, so it’s no surprise his actual tally is a bit lower than expected. The important thing is that he’s consistently getting into dangerous areas to take on those chances.

There aren’t many in the league better at finding space for a shot from close range. Hopefully, Aubameyang will revert to the mean and put a few more away in the final weeks of the campaign.