Sunday 12:00

Using expected goals (xG) data, Infogol’s Jake Osgathorpe picks out the best bets from across the weekend’s Premier League action.

Infogol is a revolutionary football product, which harnesses Opta data to power an expected goals model. Expected Goals quantifies the quality of a scoring opportunity, allocating each chance a probability of it finding the back of the net. 

The xG metric can be used to assess teams and their performances, and it also helps to give an insight into future prospects, which in turn helps with betting.

Leicester vs West Ham

Leicester just missed out on Champions League qualification last season after finishing the campaign in tame fashion. However, they have made a flying start this season and sit at the top of the table after registering a thumping 5-2 win at Manchester City last weekend.

They have won all three matches so far, scoring 12 times while creating an average of 2.4 xGF per game, and they are clearly a dangerous outfit. However, they remain vulnerable in defence.

Burnley and Manchester City both managed to score twice against the Foxes, and that will give West Ham confidence.

It was a difficult week for the Hammers, whose manager David Moyes was unable to attend their match against Wolves after contracting COVID-19. That didn’t seem to affect the side, however, as they posted a sensational performance.

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West Ham thumped a highly-rated side 4-0 at the London Stadium, racking up 2.7 xGF while allowing their visitors to create just 0.6. That result came a week after they put in a stellar display at the Emirates and were unfortunate to lose (xG: ARS 1.3 – 2.3 WHU).

The Hammers suffered a concerning 2-0 home defeat in the season opener against Newcastle, but things are now looking much better after two strong performances. 

Their next four matches are tough (@ LEI, @ TOT, vs MCI, @ LIV), and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were in the bottom three after that stretch, but West Ham have shown me enough to think they will survive comfortably.

However, this is a real test against a team flying high and full of confidence, and I still have question marks around West Ham’s back-line – a back-line that allowed an average of 1.9 xGA per game last season.

We should be in for a thrilling game at the King Power between two sides that are best in attack, and I’m expecting to see plenty of goals. Over 2.5 is a value play. 

Selection – Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 4/6

Sunday 14:00

Arsenal vs Sheffield United

Arsenal were dominant against Fulham on opening day, but the more we see of the Cottagers the less impressive that win appears, and the Gunners have been underwhelming since.

Arsenal secured a smash-and-grab win against West Ham at the Emirates in round two, and in round three they were schooled by the champions. They are improving under Mikel Arteta, but that improvement isn’t occurring at the rate many would lead you to believe.

Defensively they look marginally better on the eye, but the underlying numbers continue to show that they are vulnerable – they have allowed 5.0 xGA in their last two matches.

Their attack is also a concern. They have become heavily reliant on moments in games. Only West Brom (7.3) have created fewer non-penalty chances per game this season than Arsenal (8.0)

In fact, a closer inspection of the numbers under Arteta make for strange reading. Since he took over, no Premier League team has created fewer non-penalty chances (217 – 9.4 per game). 

Arsenal’s opponents Sheffield United have been backed into third favourites for the drop after starting the season with three straight defeats and no goals, but I think that is a slight overreaction. 

The Blades were blown away in the opening six minutes against Wolves, but were competitive for the remainder of the match, and they went down to 10 men after 12 minutes in their following loss against Aston Villa, but did well to allow only 1.0 xGA.

Chris Wilder’s side deserved at least point against Leeds last weekend having created the better of the chances (xG: SHU 1.7 – 1.3 LEE), but conceded a late goal.

They have been competitive in all three matches this season and a result is coming for the Blades.

Last season they conceded just 39 times in 38 games and were extremely difficult to play against. They had Arsenal’s number in the Premier League, winning 1-0 at Bramall Lane and earning a 1-1 draw at the Emirates with Arteta in charge – winning the xG battle on both occasions.

I’m expecting the Blades to prove a tough opponent for Arsenal yet again here, and it is likely that Sheffield United will keep the game very tight. The under 2.5 makes great appeal.

Selection – Under 2.5 Goals @ 10/11

Sunday 16:30

Manchester United vs Tottenham

The eye-catching game of the weekend comes from Old Trafford, as Jose Mourinho takes his Spurs side to face Manchester United.

To say Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were lucky last weekend against Brighton would be an understatement. Not only did they get a dubious penalty after the full-time whistle had been blown, but they were second best all over the pitch throughout, losing the xG battle convincingly (xG: BHA 2.9 – 1.9 MUN).

United have generated just 2.4 non-pen xGF in two matches against Crystal Palace and Brighton. That is not a good return at all.

I think a lot of that can be attributed to a lack of a pre-season after a late finish to the 19/20 campaign. They don’t look rested and aren’t playing with the pace or intensity that we saw from them post-break in the Premier League.

They still have quality in attacking areas that can carry them to wins, but defensively they continue to look vulnerable despite the money spent on improving the backline in recent years.

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Tottenham were on the other end of a controversial decision as Newcastle were gifted a 97th minute penalty that ultimately cost Spurs the three points.

It would have been a fully deserved win as Tottenham were excellent, creating chance after chance while allowing their visitors very little (non-pen xG: TOT 3.5 – 0.2 NEW). That draw followed a clinical counter-attacking display at Southampton, and I am starting to see things I like from Jose Mourinho’s side. 

However, they too look vulnerable at the back, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them concede a couple in this game. Another factor to consider is that this will be Tottenham’s third match in six days after playing Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday and Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League on Thursday. Their players could be cooked come Sunday.

I think we could be in for a cracker between two teams who can create through possession-based football and on the counter-attack, but are vulnerable defensively.

Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals looks a good bet at odds-against.

Selection – Back BTTS and Over 2.5 Goals @ 23/20