12:00 Sunday

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.

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Sheffield United vs Fulham

A game dubbed as an early season relegation six-pointer between two teams who are pointless through four matches, though there is much more reason to be optimistic about one of these sides.

Sheffield United contributed to arguably the dullest game of this Premier League season at the Emirates, a 2-1 defeat that saw a combined 12 shots equating to 0.72 xG.

Overall, the Blades were impressive defensively while struggling in attack in that game, but they had no issues creating against Leeds in their home game prior (1.71 xGF), where poor finishing cost them at least a point.

When you head to the free Infogol app and find the competitions page, you can sort the Premier League table by expected position – so where a team should be based on performances to date.

While the Blades sit 19th in the actual table, they rank 13th according to xG performances, so at this moment in time, there is no need for panic at Bramall Lane, as results will start to match their performances.

Let’s not forget that they have had a tough schedule, facing Wolves, Leeds and Arsenal to date, as well as playing against an in-form Aston Villa with only 10-men for 80 minutes.

Fulham do have reason to panic though. The sit bottom of the table and 17th in our xG table, with the Cottagers only that high due to having played a game more than Burnley and Manchester United (yes Man Utd are currently 19th in our xG table).

Interestingly, Scott Parker’s side have played an identical schedule to Sheff Utd so far, so we can compare how they got on against the same opponents.

Fulham come out of this comparison comfortably second best, allowing an average of 1.80 xGA per game compared to the 1.20 xGA per game of the Blades, with both sides generating 0.98 xGF per game.

I feel as though many are writing Sheffield United off a tad too early, forgetting that they finished in the top half of the Premier League last season, and deservedly so according to expected goals.

The signing of Rhian Brewster looks a good one, and he will bring a level of clinicality that has sometimes been missing. I like the look of the price available for a home win here, and the model calculates that it is a huge value play.

Selection – Back Sheffield United to win @ 10/9

14:00 Sunday

Crystal Palace vs Brighton

Crystal Palace’s start to the season has been hit and miss. They impressed greatly against both Southampton (xG: CRY 1.61 – 1.27 SOU) and Manchester United (xG: MUN 1.32 – 1.82 CRY), before being comfortably beaten by Everton (xG: CRY 0.69 – 2.38 EVE) and Chelsea (xG: CHE 2.96 – 0.14 CRY).

They have had their moments in attack, mainly through counter attacks as opposed to dominating the football, but defensively they continue to look vulnerable, allowing an average of 1.98 xGA per game.

Roy Hodgson’s side allowed an average of 1.65 xGA per game in 19/20, so it isn’t new to see them struggling at the back, and I can see them having issues against this vibrant Brighton attack.

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Graham Potter’s side have been excellent so far this season and are unfortunate to have come away with only three points from their opening four matches.

The Seagulls sit 15th in the early table but have been the seventh best team according to expected goals this term, and that is despite having to play against Chelsea, Manchester United and Everton.

A change of system looks to have improved Brighton yet again, with players much more comfortable in a back three. That system allows them to be much more attack-minded, and going forward they have averaged 1.85 xGF per game so far.

They do remain vulnerable at the back though (1.45 xGA per game), meaning they are an entertaining team to watch once again this season thanks to their high-risk style of play.

With that in mind, I can see this match-up being much more entertaining than many are perhaps expecting. Both have attacking firepower, and both look susceptible defensively, so BTTS appeals at a decent price in the M23 derby.

Selection – Back BTTS @ 10/11

17:30 Monday

West Brom vs Burnley

Another game that is being dubbed an early season relegation six-pointer, with West Brom and Burnley both winless so far.

After blowing a 3-0 half time lead against Chelsea, the Baggies followed that up with a disappointing performance at Southampton, rightly losing thanks to a toothless attacking display (xG: SOU 1.23 – 0.19 WBA).

Slaven Bilic’s side have in fact been the worst attacking team in the league so far (0.45 xGF per game), while no team has allowed more xGA through four matches (10.4 xGA – 2.60 xGA per game).
They have had a tough schedule admittedly (LEI, EVE, CHE, SOU), but the level of performance we have seen has been extremely concerning, and unless anything changes, it will be a long season for the Baggies.

Burnley have lost three out of three, but their losses have been very close games according to expected goals.

Sean Dyche’s side won the xG battle against Leicester (xG: LE 1.33 – 1.43 BUR) before narrowly losing it against Southampton (xG: BUR 0.49 – 0.55 SOU). Their performance against Newcastle was slightly concerning from an attacking stand point, but defensively they allowed only 1.10 non-penalty xG.

That game saw long-awaited returns for Ashley Barnes, James Tarkowski, Robbie Brady and Johann Gudmundsson, as Burnley’s squad is starting to get back to full fitness.

It is imperative to remember that, when assessing Burnley’s performances over the last three months, Sean Dyche has been operating with a limited squad of players due to injuries, so they are in a much stronger place now despite not bringing in multiple signings in the transfer window.

That partnership of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood is a menacing one, and now they are back together again, I think they can lead Burnley to their first points of the season.

Burnley will be relishing the chance of facing this West Brom defence, and the model makes the Clarets favourites to win at the Hawthorns, so back the visitors at a juicy price.

Selection – Burnley to win @  2/1