Premier League: Four Teams That Exceeded Expectations

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All clubs have expectations. Looking at the advanced analytics of the Premier League, four clubs stand out as exceeding expectations.

The fans, media, and club owners all set expectations for their clubs every season. The expectations may include winning trophies, qualifying for European competition, staying mid-table, or not getting relegated.

Many decisions are made based on whether the club met expectations or not. Players may get transferred in or out. Managers may also be given an empty box for their belongings.

I looked for other sets of data to judge whether teams met expectations on the pitch. There is a particular set of numbers that I used to measure a club’s performance or, in other words, whether they met expectations or not.

In each match, both clubs generate expected goals (xG), expected goals against (xGA), and expected points (xPTS). These numbers can be compared with their actual results on the pitch.

For example, a club may have an xG of 0.87 but may score three goals, suggesting that they were able to be clinically efficient in converting goal opportunities. Teams may have an xG of 3.21 but score only one goal, implying they did a poor job at finishing off their scoring chances.

The inverse is true with xGA. If a club gives up fewer goals than their expected goals against, then it suggests their defense is strong at stopping their opponents from getting goals. If the team’s defense gives up more goals than their xGA, then it indicates a weakness at preventing opponents from converting their scoring chances.

Expected points are generated by taking the xG of both clubs and simulating how many points each should earn based on the comparison. A team that has more actual points than xPTS suggests that they are adept at earning points through a combination of clinically finishing and stopping goal chances.

Based on these statistics, here are the top four clubs in the Premier League who exceeded expectations. All statistics are courtesy of understat.com unless otherwise indicated.

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