The A-League Men season is just over 20 per cent complete, and the current table is interesting to say the least.
From the return of Melbourne Victory who currently sit on top of the table, to the underperforming Western Sydney Wanderers, it’s no secret that the season so far has been a fascinating one.
But when it comes to the xG (expected goals) statistic – it’s quite clear that some clubs are making the most of their opportunities, and others are really struggling to provide that finishing touch.
The Inner Sanctum has taken a look at each club’s xG so far and constructed a table from best to worst, comparing it to their current position on the A-League Men table.
#1. Melbourne City (1.92 xG per game, fifth on table)
Melbourne City was said to have had the best attack in the league on paper this season, with incredible depth and quality all round in their final third.
In terms of creating chances, the club is exceeding expectations with leaps and bounds. When it comes to the finishing touch? A slight let down.
Melbourne City has scored just seven goals from an xG of 1.92 per game – with Mathew Leckie and Jamie Maclaren struggling to find form early on in the season.
The club currently sits fifth on the table and is in need of some finishing quality in the final third to return to the levels of last season.
#2. Newcastle Jets (1.62 xG per game, eighth on table)
It has been a very exciting start to the season for the Newcastle Jets. who have scored the second most goals in the league.
They are exceeding expectations with their goalscoring – having scored 10 goals from an average xG per game of 1.62 – however they sit eighth on the table mainly due to poor defensive displays.
The inclusions of Beka Mikeltadze and Daniel Penha have been key to the Jets’ offensive success, and if they can get their defensive structure right then they will be a huge threat in the latter stages of the season.Embed from Getty Images
#3. Adelaide United (1.62 xG per game, seventh on table)
Another club that has not been struggling to create chances but is not in a good position on the A-League Men table is Adelaide United.
A recent 4-0 over Wellington has boosted their xG stat, however they have constantly possessed great attacking threat in the majority of their games.
Defensively they have been sound, and only sit three points away from fourth position on the table.
However, with the recent loss of skipper Stefan Mauk and winger Ben Halloran to overseas clubs, it will be interesting to see whether the club can continue it’s attacking threat without two of their main contributors.
#4. Central Coast Mariners (1.43 xG per game, fourth on table)
One of the most exciting teams in the competition this season, the young Mariners have been a thrill to watch in the attacking third, with the likes of Marco Urena and Joshua Nisbet netting some brilliant goals.
They have scored seven goals from five games so far, which is a good return for an xG of 1.43, however at times they have lacked conviction in the attacking third.
This is not to mention they are sitting in fourth position as well, and playing a nice brand of football with a very young squad. Keep an eye on the club and their xG for the rest of the season if they continue to play exciting attacking football.Embed from Getty Images
#5. Western Sydney Wanderers (1.38 xG per game, ninth on table)
One of the clubs that is thoroughly underachieving this season is the Western Sydney Wanderers. If you look at their xG, it shows they have been seriously missing their shooting boots so far this season.
The Wanderers have scored only four goals from five games with an xG of 1.38 per game, netting a worryingly less amount than they should be at this stage.
However, there is still hope for the Wanderers, and this is due to having the fifth highest xG in the league. All that is needed to revive their season is some clinical finishing whilst continuing to keep their xG up.
#6. Sydney FC (1.36 xG per game, sixth on table)
In what was a horrid start for Sydney FC, the club has slowly worked its way back into contention, scoring five goals in the last two games to boost its xG to 1.36.
Previous to that, Sydney had only scored twice in the opening four games and had an xG under 1.00 per game, a colossal downfall in comparison to the previous season.
However, it seems as though the Sky Blues are finally getting their offensive threats right, and look to rediscover the form of the Sydney of old.
According to its xG compared to other teams, Sydney is almost exactly where it is are expected to be.
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#7. Macarthur FC (1.26 xG per game, second on table)
One team that is very much making the most of their chances this season is the Bulls, who sit second on the A-League Men table with the seventh highest xG.
They aren’t a team known for scoring a bag of goals, in fact they haven’t scored more than twice in a game this season. But as a collective, they are exceeding their average xG per game, and it is proving to be vital in their charge towards the top of the table.
If Macarthur can continue to be as clinical as it has been, there is no reason the club can’t continue challenging for the top spot for the rest of the A-League Men season.
#8. Western United (1.22 xG per game, third on table)
Another club that is very high up the table with a low xG is Western United.
Unlike Macarthur, Western United’s total goals scored is below its xG average. In fact the club has only scored five goals in six games.
However, it’s the strong defence that is keeping Western United highly placed, and in this case, the xG stat is not as vital as others.
If Western United’s defence does start to crumble even the smallest amount, it will have to improve its xG stat to stay in the top half of the table.Embed from Getty Images
#9. Wellington Phoenix (1.07 xG per game, 11th on table)
The Phoenix are having the season from hell so far, scoring very little and conceding a lot.
With an xG of just 1.07 and scoring four times from six games so far, they must improve dramatically if they have any chance of reviving their almost already dead season.
#10. Melbourne Victory (1.06 xG per game, first on table)
Clinical. This is one of the most surprising stats of the season so far and shows how well organised this Victory squad has been so far.
Although they have the third lowest xG stat in the league, they have scored the most goals, with 11 goals from six matches.
What is the reason for this? They are an extremely clinical outfit, and if they manage to increase their chance creations and xG, they will be a very scary opposition to come up against for the duration of the season.
It’s amazing how much the club has improved under Tony Popovic in such a short amount of time.Embed from Getty Images
#11. Brisbane Roar (0.77 xG per game, 12th on table)
A club that was not expected to do much this season, isn’t. And offensively, the Roar have been horrible.
The Brisbane Roar have scored just the one sole goal in four games – even with an average xG of 0.77, it is still a well below average return.
Although it is a very young team, they have brought in a decent amount of attackers, including Argentine Juan Lescano. Even so they just cannot find the back of the net, and haven’t since their first game.
#12. Perth Glory (0.56 xG per game, 10th on table)
The club with the most lethal strike force has the lowest xG. A crazy statistic, however, marquee signing Daniel Sturridge is still yet to get more than five minutes under his belt so far.
Having only been restricted to four matches so far this year due to a torrid run in with COVID-19, as well as only being able to play away from home, it’s fair to say Perth has got some excuses.
However, in amongst all the madness the Glory have had a 3-0 win over the league leaders, which included plenty of chances and a controlling display from new signing Antonee Burke-Gilroy.
Once Perth has all its players fit, as well as being able to get into a nice groove of games with a normal home and away structure – we will see the xG and table position skyrocket. It’s impossible for it not to with the big name players that they possess.
All stats are prior to the commencement of match-week nine.
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