Infogol’s Jake Osgathorpe has used expected goals to predict the 2020/21 Premier League standings. Based on data from last season find out which clubs will be fighting relegation, who’s contending for the Champions League places, and which team will be crowned 2020/21 Premier League Champions.
Despite finishing 18 points behind first-placed Liverpool the underlying numbers indicate Manchester City were very unfortunate and if they continue to play in the same manner will end the 20/21 season as champions.
They boasted a process of 2.7 xGF and 1.1 xGA per game. That’s not far from the title-winning 18/19 team and even better than the side of 17/18 who broke the points record.
Pep Guardiola has brought in young winger Ferran Torres as well as Nathan Ake to help fix last seasons problematic defence. It’s shaping up to be a good season at the Etihad who have a 47.8% chance of regaining their crown.
% chance of winning the Premier League title
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will be hungry for more success after winning their first league title for 30 years.
The champions defied the logic of the xG model last year, but when we look at the quality of on-target attempts faced, Jurgen Klopp’s side do well in reducing the chance of those attempts being scored.
Whereas Man City consistently play gung ho for 90 minutes the Reds seem to almost play in second gear through most matches.
They won’t want to give up their title without a fight though and have a 38.9% chance of retaining the league.
The stats suggest it will be a two-horse race for the title this season between Man City and Liverpool and there’s only a 13.3% chance that another team will win it.
After showing a big improvement towards the back of last season, if the title is going to end up anywhere else then there’s a 6.5% chance it will be on the red half of Manchester.
With the team seemingly more settled and the arrival of Dutchman Donny Van De Beek there’s an air of positivity around Old Trafford. A top four finish would be a more realistic expectation though and they have a 74.6% chance of securing a Champions League spot again.
% chance of Top 4 finish in 20/21 Premier League
It’s been a busy summer at Stamford Bridge. The transfer ban has now been lifted and Frank Lampard has added some quality to his youthful squad with Timo Werner and Kai Havertz looking like they could make an immediate impact.
Chelsea posted an underlying process (2.01 xGF, 1.2 xGA per game) last season. A lack of clinical finishing (69 goals, 78.3 xGF) and a leaky defence (54 goals conceded, 45.9 xGA) meant they left it late to secure Champions League qualification.
They are likely to end up in the top four again and with much more ease than last year, if they can continue this process and they have a 71.2% chance of doing so.
Wolves have now finished seventh in the league for the past 2 seasons but our xG table suggests they have been unfortunate not to do better as they ranked 5th in both seasons.
This kind of consistency makes it highly likely that they will produce a similar level this season.
Matt Doherty’s departure could be a blow to some fans, but it represented good business, whilst Fabio Silva could make a real impact at Molineux. There’s no European football to distract them and once again will be the fifth best team in the league with a 63.4% chance of finishing in the top six.
After a poor start last season Spurs finished strongly to finish in the top six. The results didn’t tell the full story though as they relied on a lack of clinical finishing from their opponents and failed to create many goalscoring chances themselves.
Spurs ranked as the 10th best team in the league since Jose Mourinho took charge, posting a negative process (1.4 xGF, 1.5 xGA per game) so a big improvement is needed at White Hart Lane.
A fit again Harry Kane is a huge plus, whilst the arrival of Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg and Matt Doherty will make them more robust. They only have a 12.9% chance of finishing in the top four though and will battle it out with North London rivals Arsenal for a place in the top six.
% chance of Top 6 finish in 20/21 Premier League
Despite a poor league campaign last season, the gunners won the FA Cup and beat champions Liverpool to lift the Community Shield. There is quality in the team, but they seem more suited to the cup competitions.
The Gunners ranked 13th in the Premier League under Mikel Arteta and had the sixth worse process (1.3 xGF, 1.7 xGA per game), so they overachieved with their league results.
They have relied heavily on Aubameyang’s finishing and were let off on many occasions by poor finishing from their opposition.
We rate Arsenal and Tottenham very evenly, shown by the fact that we give the Gunners a 42.7% chance of finishing in the top six, and Spurs a 41.8% chance.
Having looked on course for a top-four finish for most of last season Leicester couldn’t sustain the momentum and rightly ended up in a Europa League spot having ranked 6th on xG all season.
The contrast in form from the first half of the season to the second was alarming. With European football to contend with this season and the departure of Ben Chilwell they only have a 25.1% chance of finishing in the top six again.
Carlo Ancelotti made an immediate impact at Goodison Park. They were picking up results and according to xG were showing the form of a top six contender.
However, when the team returned after the enforced break they completely lost form and played like a bottom half side.
Signings of Abdoulaye Doucouré, Allan and James Rodriguez strengthen a problem area for the Toffees, but they must show more consistency if they are to push for the top six
Southampton finished last season in emphatic fashion, from both results and underlying numbers perspective, as post-break they ranked as the fourth-best team in the league.
In the final nine matches, Ralph Hasenhuttl had his side fit and firing, and they should continue this season where they left off last term, as the Saints steer well clear of relegation once again.
Sean Dyche continues to work wonders at Turf Moor as his Burnley side lost only two of their last 16 games last season.
They are an extremely underrated side and their underlying numbers reveal they don’t get as much recognition as they should. If they continue at the same level of process it will be another comfortable league campaign. They have just a 12.3% chance of going down.
12. West Ham
West Ham are another side who’s form drastically changed after the break. Victories against relegation contenders and drastic improvements to their underlying process enabled them to pull clear of relegation.
According to xG they were the sixth-best team after the break, led by the red-hot Michail Antonio. More of the same this season would see them survive comfortably this time around. They have a 13.8% chance of going down.
Leeds are back in the Premier League after winning the Championship last season, and their underlying numbers show how dominant they were last season.
Their xGD of +48.6 was miles ahead of every other team, even better than Wolves in 17/18 (+35.1 xGD). Considering that Wolves have ranked as the fifth best team in the league in the two seasons since securing promotion the signs look promising at Elland Road.
Rodrigo and Robin Koch look like great additions to the squad and they are more likely to finish in the top half (24.8%) than be relegated (18.1%).
14. Sheffield United
It was a memorable season last year for the Blades and for large parts of the year it looked like they could challenge for the European places.
The trend turned in a negative direction towards the end of the campaign though and this season will be much tougher now opposition teams have worked out what Chris Wilder’s team are about. Sheffield United should still have enough to secure another season in the league though (20.3% chance of relegation).
From an xG perspective the Seagulls made massive improvements last year under Chris Hughton and fans will be hoping for more of the same this season.
There haven’t been any big changes over the summer but if Brighton can maintain the same level of process as last season they will again survive the drop (23.8% chance of relegation).
16. Crystal Palace
Judging from Palaces’ form after the lockdown break many would pick them as relegation contenders. However, upon closer inspection, they wouldn’t of been expected to pick up many points from those games, playing six of the eventual top seven in those final eight.
There will still need to be a big improvement at Selhurst Park though as the Eagles posted the second worst xGF in the league (39.3 xGF) and scored just 31 times in 38 games.
It could be a relegation battle for Roy Hodgson’s team this season and they’ll need to rely on their solid defensive structure. They have a 29.6% chance of dropping into the second tier.
Newcastle finished last season in 13th place, however based on expected goals they were the worst team in the Premier League.
Steve Bruce will need to make some major changes if they are to stay up this season, as it is unlikely that they will get the same fortune as last season.
Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser have both joined the club which will give them an attacking boost. We give them a 36.7% chance of being relegated.
% chance of Relegation from Premier League in 20/21
18. Aston Villa
It was a great escape for Aston Villa last season, picking up eight points from their final four league games.
Expected goals revealed it was Villa’s defensive improvements that made the difference. Before the break they allowed an average of 2.4 xGA per game, but came back looking like a different team, allowing just 1.0 xGA per game.
To maintain their Premier League status, they will need to maintain a similar defensive process, but improvements in attack will also be needed.
It will be a close call between themselves and Newcastle, but Villa have a 37.7% chance of going down.
19. West Brom
Along with Leeds and Brentford, West Brom performed at a different level to the rest of the Championship last season based on xG.
But there is a gulf in class between the first and second-tier and Slaven Bilic will have a tough job trying to keep the Baggies up. The squad has remained the same and West Brom have a 43.5% of going straight back to the Championship.
Fulham gained promotion through the play-offs last season but were fortunate to even finish in the top six according to xG, sitting seventh in our xG table.
Leeds (+48.6 xGD) and West Brom (+22.6) both by far outperformed them in terms of xGD, as they put up just +6.1 themselves.
They are the most likely team to be relegated this season and have a 44.7% chance of dropping back into the second tier.