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INFOGOL: STATISTICS BEHIND LATICS’ CHAMPIONSHIP CAMPAIGN IN 2018-19 SO FAR

19 March 2019

Using Expected Goals (xG), Infogol’s Jake Osgathorpe looks back at how Wigan have performed so far and predicts what might happen over the rest of the season.

  • INFOGOL: Statistics behind Latics’ Championship campaign in 2018-19 so far
  • Infogol is a revolutionary new football product, which harnesses Opta data to power a proprietary Expected Goals (xG) model, which can both analyse results and predict outcomes of forthcoming matches. 
  • Nick Powell’s return to fitness is helpful for Latics – he has the most xG this season for Latics (8.6 xG) and the highest xG per 90 average (0.48).

Latics entered the International break on a high following a 5-2 win over local rivals Bolton Wanderers, a win that ended a seven-match winless run.

That win moved Latics three points clear of the relegation zone and while many fans may still be concerned by the current run of form of Paul Cook’s side and the team’s low position in the league, Latics have been very unlucky this season and have more than enough to stay in the division according to the Infogol model.

Infogol is a revolutionary new football product, which harnesses Opta data to power a proprietary Expected Goals (xG) model, which can both analyse results and predict outcomes of forthcoming matches. 

According to the Infogol Expected Goals model, although Latics sit in 19th position in the table, they have in fact been the 9th best team based on their underlying performances.

Championship Expected Goals Table ahead of GW36

Championship Expected Goals Table ahead of GW36

While Latics have hit the net just 41 times this season, based on the quality of chances they have created, they would be expected to have scored closer to 56 (56.24 xGF) – that’s a huge difference of 15 goals.

Regardless of whether this under-performance is down to poor finishing, good goalkeeping displays or just bad luck, the bottom line is that if Latics keep creating a similar level of chances at the same rate, the goals will start to flow.

The return to fitness of Nick Powell could be a timely one for Paul Cook’s side, as he is the player with the most xG this season (8.6 xG) and the highest xG per 90 average (0.48), and this has been seen in recent games, as Powell has netted twice in the three games he has started of late.

A prime example of a strong attacking display came against Ipswich at the DW Stadium, where Latics were extremely unfortunate to be held to a 1-1 draw having racked up 4.29 xG while conceding just 1.48 Expected Goals against (0.77 of which came from the penalty scored by Will Keane).

Wigan vs Ipswich Shot Map

Wigan vs Ipswich Shot Map

Using 10,000 simulations to replay the game with the same quality of chances created by each team shows just how unlucky Latics were, as they would be expected to win the game 83% of the time.

There are plenty more examples where Wigan have been extremely unfortunate, with another coming at the Madejski against Reading (xG: REA 0.69 – 2.58 WIG), and while they haven’t accumulated as many points as might have been expected, their process of chance creation and limitation has remained strong.

Latics have some tough games coming up after the international break, as they host Brentford before travelling to play Bristol City and Hull City.

Two of those matches are away from home. While many people may look at the away league table and see Latics as the second worst travellers, according to xG they have in fact been the 7th best team on the road.

Brentford are really poor travellers (17th best away team according to xG), so Latics will fancy their chances of getting another huge three points in that game, in which Infogol thinks is the most likely outcome of the match (39%).

Wigan vs Brentford Pre-Match Probabilities

Wigan vs Brentford Pre-Match Probabilities

Bristol City will be a tough ask, but away at Hull could be another game in which Latics surprise people by getting a good result (Infogol gives Latics a 48% chance of winning at the KCOM).

Percentage Chance of Relegation

Percentage Chance of Relegation

Looking at the overall relegation picture, the Infogol model calculates that Ipswich are down (100%) and Bolton have a 98% chance of being relegated. Reading are fancied to join that pair, with a 57% chance of relegation.

Using the same calculations (points already accumulated, xG performances over the season, Infogol’s raw team ratings and simulating the final matches of the season) Infogol predicts that Latics would be relegated just 7% of the time and that their most likely finishing position at this stage is 19th, a couple clear of the drop-zone.


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