Saturday 17:30

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.

West Brom vs Chelsea

West Brom’s hopes against Everton were dealt a severe blow when Kieran Gibbs saw red just after his side went 2-1 down, and there was an inevitability about the result from that point. West Brom gave up 3.8 expected Goals Against, a week after allowing 3.0 xGA to Leicester, and they look well short of the standard required at this level, especially in defence.

They have had a tough opening run of fixtures but things won’t get any easier against Chelsea, a side who ranked third in our xG table last term. However, while West Brom will likely concede chances, they have the capability on the counter attack to nick a goal.

Chelsea disappointed me against Liverpool. Frank Lampard employed a defensive approach, even prior to the red card shortly before half-time, and his side mustered just one shot equating to 0.05 xG in the first 45 minutes. In total, barring the penalty, Chelsea created a mere 0.2 xGF, while against Brighton they managed just 0.6 non-pen xGF.

Given the firepower at their disposal, Chelsea haven’t been good enough this season but, it is only early, and they have played two good sides, so things will inevitably get better.

Kai Havertz got off the mark in midweek against Barnsley in the league cup, netting a hat-trick in a 6-0 win, and both he and Timo Werner represent two of Europe’s most exciting attacking talents.

Against a West Brom side with arguably the weakest defence in the league, Chelsea have a great opportunity to return to their free-flowing, attacking best that saw them average 2.1 xGF per game through 19/20.

I expect a Chelsea win, but their vulnerability at the back is well known, so I like the BTTS angle at the Hawthorns.

Selection – Back BTTS @ 19/20

Saturday 20:00

Burnley vs Southampton

Burnley’s opening game of the 20/21 season resulted in a defeat at the King Power. That was only their third defeat in their last 17 league games, with the other two coming away at Manchester City and at home to Brighton on the final day.

They were by no means disgraced, however, as, while Leicester may have dominated possession (62%), xG suggests that Sean Dyche’s side were unfortunate to lose (xG: LEI 1.3 – 1.4 BUR).

The Clarets impressed in finishing tenth last season, boasting a solid process (1.4 xGF, 1.5 xGA per game), and the bulk of the squad remains the same so they should fare well again.

It is fair to say that Southampton have disappointed so far this season, losing both of their matches against Crystal Palace and Tottenham, though the defeat at the weekend will hurt the most.

The Saints were dominant in the first half and should have put the game to bed by half time. However, wasteful finishing and good goalkeeping meant that Spurs stayed in the game and they scored with their only shot of the half seconds before the break.

At half-time the xG total read 1.4 – 0.1 in Southampton’s favour. However, in the second half Tottenham kept playing passes in behind Southampton’s defence and punishing them – and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side didn’t learn.

Looking back at Southampton’s first game, Crystal Palace did pretty much the same thing and found joy, and that is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Burnley have the players who can exploit this same weakness, and, given how solid they are, I am surprised to see them second favourites here. Burnley or Draw in the double chance market makes great appeal.

Selection – Burnley or Draw @ 11/17

Monday 20:15

Liverpool vs Arsenal

Liverpool have started the season in an impressive manner, coming through two potentially tricky games unscathed having put in two dominant performances – especially based on expected goals (xG: LIV 3.1 – 0.3 LEE, xG: CHE 1.0 – 2.5 LIV).

Their front three look incredibly sharp even this early in the season, and the addition of Diogo Jota gives them a quality back-up.

Thiago looked classy in his 45-minute cameo at Stamford Bridge and provides a different midfield option with different assets - Liverpool are putting together a fantastic squad.

They have been menacing in attack so far this season (six goals, 5.6 xGF), but defensively they have been equally as strong, allowing just 0.5 non-penalty xGA, and they could starve Arsenal of service on Monday.

The Gunners went from being brilliant against Fulham, to being woeful against West Ham.

I didn’t want to get carried away with Arsenal after that victory at Craven Cottage as Fulham are likely to struggle this season, and their performance against the Hammers was a clearer indication of where they are at as a team.

Mikel Arteta’s side were incredibly fortunate to win having been second best for the most part, and they allowed plenty of good chances (2.3 xGA). 

It was effectively a smash and grab, with Arsenal taking seven shots in the game equating to 1.3 xGF, and scoring the winner late on. A similar performance here will almost certainly result in a defeat.

These two met post-break with Arsenal winning 2-1 in fortunate fashion, managing just three shots (0.8 xG) while Liverpool peppered the goal (2.5 xG). 

Liverpool look a fair price to win the match, but Arsenal, to me, still look like they struggle to create opportunities on a regular basis, especially against better teams. We saw it towards the back-end of last season and again at the weekend.

The will likely struggle to create against one of the league’s best defensive teams, and so I like the look of BTTS ‘no’, which is a value price.

Selection – Back BTTS ‘no’ @ 13/10