Well the season is underway and managers are scrambling to correct wrongs and hopefully not un-correct rights. The xElo numbers are soon, but first a note. One gameweeek is a very small sample size. While every journey starts with one step, not every step turns into a good journey. Glean what you can from the various results, but be mindful that what you see may not actually be relevant going forward.
Let’s start on the attacking side. It was an underwhelming start for the promoted sides. All barely registering any xG. West Ham and Chelsea (and Tottenham to some extent) the other big underachievers. Tottenham and West Ham are interesting with both seeming to have some form in the restart last season. Chelsea have a rebuilt squad but missing some key players may now be on a downward trend. Crystal Palace, Wolves, Newcastle, and Arsenal overachieved. General consensus is that Arsenal has carried form through the offseason, Newcastle toting a new look, and Wolves and Crystal Palace a pleasant surprise (for different reasons). Some of these teams have some good value players and will be ones to watch moving forward.
But it is worth noting that it may not be the offense that is strong/weak, it could be the opponent who is the opposite. A quick mention of the defenses, Liverpool, Leicester, and Arsenal fared well against the promoted clubs and Brighton and Newcastle the other notable clubs (honourable mention to Everton).
Looking at the top projected attacking teams, there is little surprise. An “in form” Arsenal up against West Ham followed by the attacking Manchester teams make a relatively predictable top three. Chelsea at home to Liverpool slotting in as fourth best is a bit of a surprise, but Everton and Leicester as the next two seems about right. The next three include two of the promoted teams. With the three promoted teams starting with the same rating (that probably still needs some time to adjust), this more highlights their opponent’s defensive strength.
The big surprises are the location of Liverpool in this at fourth from the bottom. In 2020, Chelsea have been a force defensively at home conceding only to big six sides (four of four to be exact). I wouldn’t write Liverpool off, but I don’t think I would be surprised with any scoreline. Wolves one spot below Liverpool makes sense (Manchester City have the best defensive rating), but is also a bit of surprise with the sense of the Wolves attacking strength.
Defensively, only a few teams stand out. Leicester home to Burnley and Manchester United home to Crystal Palace seem the best targets with Manchester City, Chelsea, and Everton the next best. If the Manchester clubs can get back in the swing of things quickly and Chelsea can recover from some injuries this could be a week with lots of goals.
I’m excited to get a couple more weeks of data behind us to start looking at teams as an average and not single games. I hope this has provided some insight and I’ll see you on the other side of GW2.