Expected Stats: Which Consistent Overperformers Are Underperforming This Season?

My first article looking at the data on expected statistics after Gameweek 4 successfully predicted that Timo Werner and Harry Kane would go on to score more non-penalty goals and that Son would add to his assists tally.

If it wasn’t for an injury, suspension and a surprising lack of playing time, then maybe Kevin de Bruyne, Richarlison and Adama Traoré respectively could have also had more attacking returns.

As before, I will again be pointing out the underperforming players so far this season in both non-penalty expected goals and expected assists (npxG/xA) who, in contrast, have tended to historically outperform those statistics in their Premier League career since they were first introduced at the start of the 2017/18 season.

For the purpose of my analysis, underperform means that the player has scored or assisted less than what they were expected to.

On the other hand, overperform means that the individual has scored or assisted more than what they were expected to.

Non-penalty expected goals is also a truer metric as it removes penalties from the equation.

Therefore, such an analysis will allow us to predict with conviction which consistent outfield players ought to decidedly start increasing the amount of their attacking returns as the season progresses.

npxG Underperformers 20/21

20/21 Goalscoring Underperformer *Career npxG *Career npGCareer delta20/21 npxG20/21npG20/21 delta
Richarlison30.131+0.91.90-1.9
Kevin de Bruyne14.921+6.110-1
Tomáš Souček3.64+0.41.41-0.4
Sadio Mané44.854+9.24.34-0.3
npxG=Non-Penalty Expected Goals
npG=Non-Penalty Goals
*Since introduction of expected stats on fbref.com
  • Richarlison (£7.8m) is the biggest underperformer by far (-1.9) to date although he hasn’t historically outperformed by a big amount in goals scored (only +0.9) compared to others. He’s now back from suspension with Fulham, Leeds Utd and Burnley in his next three.
  • It’s no surprise to see Kevin De Bruyne (£11.5m) on this list given he is yet to score from open play this season. His history of eclipsing xG stats isn’t actually just down to last season’s heroics so FPL managers would be wise to consider the Belgian maestro from Gameweek 10 onwards, when City embark on a brilliant fixture run.
  • Fresh from his winner on Saturday, owners of Tomáš Souček (£4.9m) ought to keep on starting the Czech in their teams now that the Hammer’s horror run of fixtures is well and truly over.
  • Despite scoring four goals, Sadio Mané (£12m) ought to have had more and comfortably outperforms his npxG historically. Expect the pendulum to swing back the other way soon. The Senegalese could be a good option for those FPL managers with money spare after selling Son and Kane.

xA Underperformers 20/21

20/21 Assisting Underperformer *Career xA*Career AssistsCareer delta 20/21 xA20/21 Assists20/21 delta
Mo Salah26.728+1.321-1
Ross Barkley6.810+3.21.71-0.7
Arthur Masuaku6601.31-0.3
xA=Expected Assists
*Since introduction of expected stats on fbref.com
  • Despite all his goals to date, Mo Salah (£12.4m) is still underpeforming on the assists front this season, which is not reflective of his Premier League career. He did assist Mané a lot last season, which could explain why both make my article.
  • Ross Barkley’s (£6m) first assist of the season against Arsenal was a beautiful side-footed volley to Ollie Watkins and demonstrates why the Englishman has contributed with more assists than expected historically. The Villans now embark on a glorious fixture run all the way until Gameweek 16 so who is to say that you cannot pair Barkley with the talismanic Jack Grealish in your midfield?
  • Despite Arthur Masuaku (£4.5m) being on par with his xA throughout his time in the league, I thought it would be worth including a budget defender in my article. The Congolese is stationed at left wing-back where he is tasked with consistently putting in crosses for the likes of Michail Antonio and Souček to get on the end of.

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