Nearly a full round of eleven matches each for the twelve Scottish Premiership teams seems like a fair point to at which to stop and take stock. Points win prizes but some other numbers (all via Modern Fitba) can give us a more reliable indication of which team’s form might actually carry them to the podium.
Feel like Ross County should have scored more goals than they have? Think Hibs have fluked their way to third? Unsure whether to place that bet on Hamilton Accies surviving another season? Let’s take an early look at the Pure Fitbaw Expected Goals Table and pick out a note for each team.
Rangers – Goals, both for and against, are pretty much in line with expectation and they are massively ahead – even of Celtic – in terms of Expected Goals difference per match. It doesn’t hurt to take the most shots per match on average and have the joint highest average xG per shot.
Celtic – That’s quite a big difference between goals scored and xG. If they continue playing in the same way we might expect to see a drop off in terms of their scoring. The more detailed table (below) shows they’re still taking a lot of shots on average but the xG per shot on average is not too impressive.
Hibernian – The fact that they’ve conceded almost nine goals fewer than expected is leaping off the page here. Good keeping/poor opposition finishing/a bit of luck/special (salt and) sauce has kept them up in third when their xG difference per match would place them in sixth.
Aberdeen – Their xG difference is very similar to their goal difference, with slight underperformance in attack and slight overperformance in defence, and per match would put them firmly in third.
Kilmarnock – Similarly to Hibs they’ve let in quite a bit less than expected; thirteen conceded compared to an xG against of over eighteen.
Dundee United – Their recent chance creation woes have been evident and we can see this reflected in the stats; they take the third fewest shots in the league and their average xG per shot is low. In addition, when they have been making chances they’ve been squandering them with about four fewer goals scored than xG.
Ross County – Really interesting to see these details for the Dingwall club; they’ve scored about seven fewer than expected and would have been expected to concede about five more than they have. They take the fewest shots in the league and have the second worst xG difference per match despite sitting eighth of twelve.
Motherwell – Their xG difference is about the same as their goal difference, having scored slightly less than expected and conceded slightly less than expected. Of note is the fact that their average xG per shot is the lowest in the division.
Livingston – Livi have scored about three goals less than their xG, conceded about three more than expected and their almost break even xG difference per match would place them up in fifth place. They take the second fewest shots per match but their average xG per shot is joint highest with Rangers.
St Johnstone – Have the fourth highest xG difference per match despite currently being in tenth spot. So, what’s going on? They’ve scored eight goals fewer than expected and have conceded about four more than expected. This gives them the biggest disparity between goal difference and Expected Goal difference of all the clubs.
St Mirren – Second bottom in terms of points and their xG difference per match is third worst. They’ve actually scored about five goals fewer than expected and the model suggests they should’ve conceded a couple more than they have.
Hamilton Accies – Bottom of the points win prizes table and bottom of the VL one too. They’ve got the worst xG difference per match by a distance. In terms of detail; scored about what would be expected, conceded slightly less than xG against, take the sixth fewest shots (though there’s not much separating them and those below) and they’re pretty low xG attempts on average.