Football Features

The three Premier League players with highest ‘xG’ and ‘xA’ totals in the 2018/19 season

By Ben Green

Published: 15:15, 19 May 2019 | Updated: 17:40, 29 September 2019

With the relatively-new metric of expected goals and expected assists now defining the likelihood of contributions in the final third, we can see which player should have clinched the Golden Boot, and likewise, the Playmaker of the Season.

The 2018/19 Premier League top goalscorer award was split between three players, with the trident of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sharing the spoils.

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard – now of Real Madrid – took top prize for most assists, becoming the second player after Kevin de Bruyne to seal the accolade since its inception in 2017/18.

But with ‘xG’, which “measures the quality of a shot” according to Opta, and ‘xA’, which “measures the likelihood that a given pass will become a goal assist”, coming into play, we can see whether any of those four players should have indeed scooped the league’s apex awards.

Using these metrics, we have looked into the numbers and found the three Premier League players with the highest ‘xG’ and ‘xA’ totals in the 2018/19 season.

Time will tell whether any of these players will repeat their respective feats during the new campaign. But now it’s time to take a look back…

Expected goals (xG)

3. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Expected goals: 18.49

Taking into account every chance Vardy had in 2018/19, he was expected to score 18.49 goals, and guess what? He scored 18… which capped off another fine campaign for the seasoned striker.

2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Expected goals: 20.13

Salah has a propensity to get himself into some dangerous positions in the opposition box, and assessing the quality of his chances, the Egyptian King should have scored 20.13 goals last term, making his 22-goal haul look all the more impressive.

1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Expected goals: 23.03

Well, well, well. We know Aubameyang is the very definition of a fox in the box, but based on his xG in 2018/19, the penalty-box poacher should have clinched the Golden Boot during the 2018/19 campaign. That Burnley miss on the final day looks all the more heart-rending now…

Expected assists (xA)

3. James Maddison (Leicester City)

Expected assists: 8.67

Maddison created a quite ridiculous century of chances in 2018/19 – the most in the Premier League. And, taking into account the Englishman’s passes across the campaign, he should have registered 8.67 assists – he managed seven, which was not a bad return for his maiden top-flight season.

2. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 

Expected assists: 10

It was another breathtaking season from the twinkle-toed phenom, who enjoyed his best assists-return in a Chelsea shirt with 15, five more than the 10 that was expected of him based on the quality of his passes. Frank Lampard’s side will miss the Belgian’s contributions dearly.

1. Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)

Expected assists: 10.21

Fraser finished the campaign just an assist shy of Hazard’s total with 14, a commendable tally for the Scot who really came of age and showcased his worth in a Bournemouth shirt, with 21 direct contributions. Eddie Howe will be delighted if he can retain the midfielder’s services between now and the end of the transfer window.

Watch the video at the top of the article to see more of our unique 2018/19 Premier League stats – powered by Opta.

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