5 teams that improved their xG the most from season-to-season (2020-22)

5 teams that improved their xG the most from season-to-season (2020-22)
5 teams that improved their xG the most from season-to-season (2020-22)
Varun Pai

A good xG (expected goals) is a sign that a football team is pushing in the right direction and is taking good decisions in the final third of the pitch. Similarly, a low xG allowed indicates that a team concedes very few chances for the opposition to score.

The 2021-22 season concluded a month ago and while several teams underperformed, there were quite a few that exceeded expectations. Amongst Europe's top 5 leagues, there were quite a few surprises due to an all-round improvement as compared to the previous campaign.

Hence, while some clubs underperformed their xG last season, others did far better than what they managed in the 2020-21 season.

On that note, let's take a look at the five teams that improved their xG the most in the 2021-22 season as compared to the 2020-21 campaign.

Note: Only Europe's top 5 leagues have been considered

#5 Marseille

Olympique Marseille improved their xG last season
Olympique Marseille improved their xG last season

Since Jorge Sampaoli's arrival at Marseille in February 2021, the club has looked like a new side with a lot of life in them.

Their energy in games, their 'never-give-up' attitude and a desire to win have been instilled in them by the Argentinian manager. However, their attacking performances also improved, as five players scored more than five goals in Ligue 1 for them last season, with Dimitri Payet leading the pack with 11 strikes.

This resulted in them finishing second in the French league this term, as compared to their fifth place finish last year.

While they did score nine more goals (63) than they managed last season (54), they also conceded nine fewer goals (38) than in the last campaign (47). However, they were poor in the 2020-21 campaign as their xG difference was -0.04, indicating they should have conceded more goals than the number they scored.

But their xG improved quite a bit in the 2021-22 season as they had an xG difference of 0.39, thereby proving their quality in both phases of the pitch. Marseille will look to build on this progress next season and perhaps prevent Paris Saint-Germain from winning yet another domestic league title.

#4 Torino

Torino improved its xG significantly
Torino improved its xG significantly

Torino enjoyed one of their best ever campaigns in Serie A last season as they finished 10th in the table, despite narrowly avoiding relegation the season before.

Andrea Belotti's goals may be drying up slightly but the Italian international still managed eight strikes in Serie A last season. Josip Breaklo also scored seven times in 32 games to ensure that the club finished in the top half of the table.

However, they scored four fewer goals (46) than they managed in the 2020-21 campaign (50), proving their need for a more potent centre-forward next season.

But the reason their xG difference improved from -0.15 to 0.33 last season is due to their frugal defense. Torino's ruthless backline, led by Gleison Bremer, conceded only 41 goals last season as compared to the 69 they let in the season before.

To put this into context, only the top four managed better defensive numbers than Torino last season and the Italian side will be mighty proud of this statistic.

#3 Liverpool

Liverpool were helped by an improved xG
Liverpool were helped by an improved xG

Liverpool had one of their most dominating seasons in history last season as they played every single game a side could play in domestic football. The Reds made it to the final of every single tournament they competed in and won two domestic cups in the process.

Jurgen Klopp's team vastly improved from the 2020-21 season, as injuries derailed their chances of winning anything that year. However, they came back stronger and fitter last season by scoring 94 goals in the Premier League and conceding a mere 26 strikes. This led to their xG difference being 1.30 this year, which was one of the best across Europe.

Liverpool have won at least 28 League Matches in 3 out of the last 4 seasons. No other team in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues have been able to do the same or better.

To shed more light on their improvement, the Merseyside club only scored 68 times in the 2020-21 season while conceding 42 goals. But given their standards, Liverpool were always going to improve last season and they lived up to their reputation by playing some sensational football.

It is a pity that they narrowly missed out on the Champions League trophy and the Premier League title too.

#2 Bayern Munich

FC Bayern München also had a much better xG
FC Bayern München also had a much better xG

Bayern Munich have dominated the Bundesliga for over a decade now and the gap between them and the rest of the league seems to be increasing year-after-year.

The Bavarians romped to their 32 domestic league title last season as they banged in 97 goals and only conceded 33 in 34 league games. Robert Lewandowski was at the top of his game yet again as Julian Nagelsmann heavily influenced the club's attacking style.

However, his eye for detail in the defense has led to the club improving in all departments last season.

Bayern Munich managed nearly 100 goals (99) in the 2020-21 season as well but conceded 44 goals. However, Nagelsmann's shrewd tactics of pressing on the flanks and restricting letting open spaces in the midfield worked wonders last season.

Hence, their xG difference rose to 1.44 in the 2021-22 season from 0.87 in the previous campaign.

Nagelsmann will be keen to improve both departments next season. But guaranteeing the same on the attacking front will be a tough task, especially if Lewandowski leaves the Allianz Arena this summer.

#1 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace greatly improved their xG
Crystal Palace greatly improved their xG

Crystal Palace were arguably the most improved side in the Premier League last season as Patrick Vieira brought about a youthful drive at the club.

Following the signings of Marc Guehi and Michael Olise and a loan deal for Conor Gallagher, Palace had young legs to drive the side. Wilfried Zaha also looked like a man who was not shouldering the responsibility of the entire attacking department as the Ivorian ace bagged 14 league goals.

Happy birthday @OfficialVieira.As Crystal Palace manager, he transformed the squad and their playing style to produce a more progressive, attractive brand of football. They finished in comfortable mid-table in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup semi finals. 🎂🦅🇫🇷#CPFC

But like other teams on this list, the defense improved hugely as Joachim Anderson and Marc Guehi formed an excellent centre-back partnership. The club conceded only 46 goals in 38 league games, 20 fewer than the 66 strikes they let in during the 2020-21 campaign.

They also scored nine more goals (50) last season as compared to a meagre return of 41 goals the season before.

Hence, it is no surprise that their xG difference was 0.6 last term as compared to -0.66 in the 2020-21 campaign. Although they only managed a four-point difference between the two seasons, the progress on the pitch felt a lot more.

Vieira shall now be eager to propel his side to finish in the top half of the table next season, with an eye on the European spots.

Paul Merson has predicted the results for Chelsea vs Tottenham and other GW 2 fixtures! Click here

Edited by Akshay Saraswat


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