The 10 least likely Premier League goals of the 2018/19 season based on xG

  • Rob Swan

Many of you reading this will already be familiar with the term xG.

It stands for ‘Expected Goals’ and is a statistic used to determine the likelihood of every chance during a football match.

It’s designed to answer the question of whether a player should have scored from a certain opportunity.

“Put simply, it is a way of assigning a "quality" value (xG) to every attempt based on what we know about it,” BBC Sport wrote in a feature on xG two years ago. “The higher the xG - with 1 being the maximum - the more likelihood of the opportunity being taken.

“So if a chance is 0.5xG, it should be scored 50% of the time.”

Hopefully that makes sense. It becomes easier to understand when you see it applied to in-game situations.

Basically, a tap-in from one yard with no goalkeeper will have a significantly higher xG rating than a shot from 40 yards, where the player shooting is being closed down by an opponent.

Leicester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League

The Times have now revealed the 10 least likely goals, based on xG stats, from the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.

These are the shots that, according to statistics, had a very slim chance of going in.

10. Phillip Billing, Huddersfield v Southampton | Dec 22 2018

Distance 32.53 yards, xG 0.0216

Top billing from Phillip, who finds the back of the net with a swerving left-footed effort from outside the box.

9. Danilo, Huddersfield v Manchester City | Jan 20 2019

Distance 34.28 yards, xG 0.0209

Scored from a similar position to Billing’s effort, Danilo’s shot went in thanks to a huge deflection off a Huddersfield defender.

8. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Southampton v Brighton | Sep 17 2018

Distance 34.6 yards xG 0.0209

An absolute peach of a strike, this one. Driven hard and low into the bottom corner, perfect.

7. Eden Hazard, Chelsea v Wolves | Mar 10 2019

Distance 24.76 yards xG 0.0202

A moment of class from the Belgian, who is reportedly poised to join Real Madrid this summer.

6. Andros Townsend, Manchester City v Crystal Palace | Dec 22 2018

Distance 28.54 yards xG 0.0192

Easily the most aesthetically pleasing of all the goals on this list, Townsend almost broke the net with this stunning volley at the Etihad.

5. James McArthur, Crystal Palace v Burnley | Dec 1 2018

Distance 35.01 yards xG 0.0189

This was intended as a cross, but it went all the way into the back of the net.

4. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City v Crystal Palace | Dec 22 2018

Distance 38.3 yards xG 0.0181

An unbelievable goal from the Man City winger… if he meant it.

3. Lucas Digne, Everton v Manchester United | Apr 21 2019

Distance 24.9 yards xG 0.0173

On a memorable afternoon for Everton, Lucas Digne whacked in a beautiful strike through a crowded penalty area past David de Gea from 25 yards.

2. Lucas Digne, Burnley v Everton | Dec 26 2018

Distance 31.8 yards xG 0.0129

Here he is again. Digne’s rocket against Burnley was also a peach.

1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Arsenal v Wolves | Nov 11 2018

Distance 32.64 yards xG 0.0127

The least likely Premier League goal of the season was this ‘shot’ by Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The term ‘he had no right to score from there’ is certainly true in this case.

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