Let’s start with a statement that looks pretty obvious: Liverpool have an awful defense.
While it may look like their bad defense is down to the incompetence of Liverpool’s individual defenders, it’s largely down to the high-pressing system favored by Jurgen Klopp that’s gone awry this season. When the first line of press is broken (which has happened many times this season), the ball gets into dangerous areas because of the vacant spaces left behind. This leads to tricky situations for the Liverpool backline.
This is part two of a two-part series explaining how Lucien Favre’s Nice overperform expected goals, that cool new stat they show on MOTD, by a huge margin. Part one explained how Nice’s defence overperform expected goals against (xGA). In part two, I explain how Nice’s attack overperform expected goals for (xGF). Let’s jump right in.
After a strong season under Claude Puel in 2016, finishing 4th, Nice got even stronger under the control of Swiss manager Lucien Favre, finishing 3rd in Ligue 1 and securing a Champions League qualifying berth in 2017. However, as a (self-professed) stats guy, I like to look at Expected Goals – soccer analytics’ most popular model – to see if the league table lies.
With the summer break giving many analysts time to refine their models and peruse the transfer gossip, we have been hard at work developing a new metric for evaluating players across Europe’s top five leagues.
Nick Gearing is Head of Analysis at League 2 Leyton Orient and runs courses for aspiring analysts. If you’ve ever wondered what analysts do or if you could be one then this will be perfect for you and, we hope, very insightful.
This year, Leicester City decided to soldier on with the strategy they used last year that won them the title. They bought players from peripheral or lower leagues, which means I can’t say whether Islam Slimani, their most expensive signing this year, was any good. Incredibly annoying. Anyway, for the players I can evaluate, here are their stats.