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What is the Expected Goals (xG) metric and how is it calculated?

Expected Goals, xG
Expected Goals, xG - Image Source: Education First

The term xG in football is an abbreviation for ‘expected goals’. It is a statistical measurement of the quality of goalscoring chances and the likelihood of them being scored.

An xG measurement can be generated for both teams as a whole and individual players, giving an indication as to how well they should be performing in front of goal.

It has also become a common point of discussion in sports media. The supporters, too, are beginning to engage with the concept.

xG is calculated by comparing it to thousands of shots recorded earlier based on factors such as distance, position of defenders, type and speed of pass, type of shot, shot angles and various other aspects.

A number of factors are taken into account when calculating xG. They include: type of assist, whether it was a shot taken with the head or foot, the angle and distance of the shot, and whether it was a big chance.

If you see that chance is described as having an xG rating of 0.35 that means a player would be expected to score from the chance 35 per cent of the time.

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