Premier League review: Impressive Gray display, Newcastle defence breached easily, Wolves toothless
Premier League review: Impressive Gray display, Newcastle defence breached easily, Wolves toothless

Premier League review: Toothless Wolves, Demarai Gray, weak Newcastle

Our analyst Liam Kelly reviews the Premier League action from a data perspective, highlighting points of interest after the third round of matches.

The aim of this weekly column is to provide standout stats from each round of fixtures, use underlying numbers to identify recent trends and to inform punters with tools to improve their betting on the Premier League.


How good is Demarai Gray?

Everton's Demarai Gray is already looking like the bargain buy of the summer; costing less than £2m from Bayer Leverkusen following a disappointing spell at Leicester.

Rafa Benítez clearly has faith in the 25-year-old winger, though, which has been repaid relatively quickly, bagging another important goal in the 2-0 win over Brighton on Saturday.

Granted, scoring two goals from four shots equating to 0.21 expected goals (xG) is fairly unsustainable, but the addition of Gray has proven to be a sweet move for the Toffees, even when accounting for his inevitable shot conversion regression.

Demarai Gray statistics
  • Progressive passes - Completed passes that move the ball towards the opposition goal at least 10 yards from its furthest point in the last six passes, or any completed pass into the penalty area. Excludes passes from the defending 40% of the pitch.

Gray has been a consistent outlet for Benítez's team, recording 18 progressive passes received on Everton's strong left side, linking up exceptionally well with Lucas Digne and Richarlison.

A promising sign for a manager who is under intense pressure to deliver.

Could defensively weak Newcastle be relegated?

The manner of Newcastle’s 2-2 draw with Southampton may have left them feeling a little aggrieved, giving away a stoppage-time penalty after scoring what looked like the winner moments earlier.

However, it was no more than Southampton deserved, registering 2.62 xG before James Ward-Prowse scored from the spot (0.80 xG).

The 3.42 xG conceded against the Saints lifts Newcastle's expected goals against total to 7.9 xGA, second only to Arsenal.

Newcastle xGA Premier League 2021/22

Newcastle have hardly faced the toughest of opposition, either, playing host to West Ham and travelling to Aston Villa before Saturday's disappointment.

The atmosphere inside St. James' Park was toxic for much of the game, which is understandable given the circumstances. The Magpies rely on individuality going forward and are reminiscent of a turnstile at the back.

Make no mistake, Newcastle are prime contenders for the drop.

Toothless Wolves fail to find shooting boots

Wolves, what big teeth you have!

Unfortunately, they've been far from sharp in the opening matches of the Premier League season, losing all three games by a goal to nil thanks to some shocking finishing.

Bruno Lage's side have failed to score despite creating scoring opportunities equating to 6.03 xG this term, a massive underperformance that results in a sea of blue on their shot map.

Wolves' attacking shot map | Premier League 2021/22

Highlighting the unlikelihood of Wolves’ barren spell, Infogol's model indicates that the probability of the average team scoring zero goals from 6.03 xG is a tiny 0.24%. In fact, our calculations suggest that the Old Gold notching 14 goals would have been almost as likely (0.23%) as them scoring none.

That is all hypothetical, though.

In reality, Wolves sit in the relegation zone in spite of three impressive performances against good opposition, enabling me to make an ill-advised Little Red Riding Hood reference.

Lage's side will be fine.

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