Expected Goals: Is the TFC in its place?

Only second in the championship at mid-season, co-best attack with 37 goals scored, 8 out of 10 chances to climb according to League statistics… It’s hard to say that Toulouse FC has a bad first part of the championship. But what do the results give in the form of Unexpected Goals? Site writing LesViolets.com looked into the matter.

First of all, what are “Expected Goals” (or “xG”)? To put it simply, it’s a figure that represents the number of goals a team should have scored during a match. This data is the result of a compilation of several statistics: the distance of the shot, the player who triggers the shot, his position on the field, the angle of the shot, the speed of the ball… Each occasion and each shot are analyzed, and give a result in the form of xG. Take for example the goal of Stijn Spierings against Paris FC:

We can see that Spierings triggers his strike about 27 meters from the goal, with an opponent in front of his trajectory, likely to counter the shot. According to xGs, the chances of this strike ending up in the back of the net are very low (around 0.15).

Conversely, let’s remember this miss of Mickaël Biron at the start of the match during Nancy-TFC. Alone in front of goal, the Nancy center forward does not frame his head. However, if we analyze this situation in the form of xG, the probabilities that the ball ends up at the back of the net are enormous (approximately 0.90).

It is therefore with these statistics that we have remade the first nineteen days of the championship, focusing only on the current top 5 of Ligue 2.

The top 5 of L2:

The results of the TFC:

We can already notice some surprises when looking at xGs. On the first two days, the TFC took no points. However, if we trust the Expected Goals, we see that the TFC lacked offensive efficiency against Dunkirk, and defensive against Grenoble. According to the xG, a draw would have been more logical on these two meetings. Conversely, the 3-1 victory against Auxerre seems to have paid dearly for our opponent, who had a higher xG than ours in this match, the same during the victory against Paris FC (1-0), or even against Rodez (3-0). Among the matches that could be described as “frustrating”, such as the draw against Guingamp (2-2), we see that TFC should have largely won, with an xG greater than that of its opponent. This is not the case against the defeat (4-5) against Valenciennes.

By taking only the scores generated by the xGs in all matches of the top five teams in Ligue 2, we were able to establish a new ranking.
Note that it takes an xG greater than 0.5 compared to that of the opponent to be considered the winner of the match. If the difference is less than 0.5, we have treated the result as a draw.

Top 5 of L2 according to Expected Goals:

The TFC passes last of the top 5, with 27 points, tied with Grenoble. The fall in the standings is quite heavy for the Violets, who lose 9 points, score 6 fewer goals, and concede 6 more goals. This represents a total gap of 12 goals between xGs and reality. Troyes, already the real leader of the championship, consolidates its position even more, with 5 more goals scored than reality, which gives it the status of best attack, and especially 14 points ahead of third, Auxerre. Current best defense of L2 with only 10 small goals conceded, the xG give a completely different result for the Clermont: 23 goals conceded, 13 more than reality.

By looking at this table, we can get a more precise idea of ​​the performances and dynamics of the different teams during this first part of the season. The TFC seems to be outperforming, being very efficient in all areas. Troyes appears to be underperforming and could have taken more points and scored more goals. Statistics are one thing, but the reality on the ground is another. Let’s not forget that football is not an exact science.

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