By the numbers, Tottenham Hotspur's victory over Southampton at the weekend was a marginal one. Both clubs put three shots on target from inside the box, two from wide areas and one from the danger zone. Spurs did have two shots from the high-expectation close-central area, but one of Southampton's wide shots on target was assisted by a through-ball, and they had a few more shots from outside the box. Hugo Lloris made a couple very clutch saves of good one-on-one chances to preserve the three points for Spurs.
But a close win over Southampton is a very good thing. This was a match Spurs were projected to win about 1/3 of the time and draw a little less than 1/3 of the time, meaning that I had Spurs taking an average of 1.3 points from the fixture. So a victory is 1.7 points in added expectation.
Spurs still stand 7th on average in the projected table, now just fractional points behind Manchester United. They are about ten points ahead of Newcastle United, even though the Magpies are currently even with Spurs in the actual table. What's going on with that?
Basically, I don't think Newcastle are as good as their record. They are the only club in the top nine in the league that have conceded more shots and shots on target from the danger zone than they have attempted. Newcastle have a positive shots ratio because they have taken nearly twice as many shots from outside the box than their opponents. Those count, and when you have Yohan Cabaye taking some of the shots from outside the box, you should expect some goals in the bargain. But overall, Newcastle's underlying stats are those of a .500 team, not a top four contender.
For comparison, these are Newcastle's basic underlying stats compared to the average underlying stats of Everton, Manchester United, Spurs and Southampton (the other four clubs on the outside looking in to the top four at the moment).
|Team||xG||DZ Shots||DZ SoT||W SiB||W SiBoT||SoB||SoBoT|
Newcastle have a -19 shot difference in the danger zone (-9 SoT difference), while their competitors average +17 and +8. I think it is very likely that Newcastle start to drop points soon, and I would not project them as tremendously likely to take points off Arsenal on the 29th.
Projections and Power Rankings
Because of rounding, not all the numbers necessarily add up quite right.
|West Bromwich Albion||9||13||16||41||-10||87||0%||0||9%||+0||0%||0||0%|
|West Ham United||8||11||19||35||-18||74||0%||0||33%||+0||0%||0||0%|
- At the top of the table, Manchester City and Liverpool move up with resounding victories over doubtful opposition. Playing at Craven Cottage, City took 13 shots from the danger zone, putting eight on target. Both are the highest totals for a road side this season. They keep moving up the table, even though there isn't too much further for them to climb. Liverpool merely had four danger Zone SoT and four wide SoT compared to one and one for Cardiff City. This plus the three points was enough for Liverpool to jump slightly in front of Arsenal in the title race.
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