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The highs and lows of xG in the Football League so far

Very few people in English football had heard of new Reading manager Veljko Paunović when he was appointed Royals’ boss in August, with his only first-team management experience coming from his time with Chicago Fire in MLS. But in the weeks that have followed the ex-Atlético Madrid midfielder has led his side to the top of the Championship table, racking up 22 points after just 8 games.

However, the xG statistic suggests that Reading are drastically overperforming as a result of their clinical finishing and should actually be sitting far lower down the table in 14th. Whether Yakou Méïté, Lucas João and Co will be able to sustain this for the rest of the season is yet to be seen, but for now, here are four other teams that xG says should be far higher/lower than they are.

Watford: From one team underperforming 13 places, to one overperforming by the same amount, which may come as a surprise considering the attacking talent that Watford have at their disposal. The Hornets haven’t necessarily been clinical in front of goal, but have defended exceptionally well. xG suggests Vladimir Ivić’s side should have conceded 4.5 goals more than they have done, based on chances on their goal. This is no doubt, in part thanks to Ben Foster who has been in fine form between the sticks for the newly relegated side.

Watford v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship : News Photo

Nottingham Forest: The Reds got off to a tricky start this season, losing their first four games with saw Sabri Lamouchi axed and replaced by Chris Hughton, who is yet to be defeated as Forest manager.

It looks as though Lamouchi can consider himself unfortunate to have lost his job though, as xG shows that Forest could be 7th in the table, a rise of 13 places, if they had taken their chances when under the Frenchman. Now Hughton is converting xG into goals and points, expect to the City Ground side shoot up the Championship table.

Oxford United: League One play-off finalists last year and having recruited well in the summer, it is somewhat of a shock to see Karl Robinson’s Oxford side languishing 23rd in the table. The opposite of Watford, the U’s xG indicates they should have conceded 6.1 goals less than they have, which would have propelled them 15 places up the table into 8th.

This can likely be explained by the sale of influential defender Rob Dickie to QPR, who featured 49 times for the club last season.

Oxford United v Portsmouth - Trophy : News Photo

Charlton Athletic: There is plenty of optimism around Charlton Athletic at the moment, thanks to the sale of the club to Danish-American businessman Thomas Sandgaard, as well as results on the pitch. Lee Bowyer’s team have won 5 of their first 8 games, occupying the final play-off spot in 6th.

The Addicks have overperformed at both ends of the pitch scoring 3.3 more goals, and conceding 3.7 less than expected. Sandgaard will definitely be hoping his new purchase are able to keep this up for the remaining 38 games.


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