Top 10 Premier League finishers defying their xG

LIverpool forward Mo Salah

We’re talking non-penalty G-xG, which is basically how many more (non-penalty) Premier League goals a player has scored over and above the xG of his chances. So in short, who is scoring more goals than he should? And no, Mo Salah is not quite top. Statistics are taken from the brilliant FB.Ref.


10) Ismaila Sarr (Watford)
Non-penalty goals: 5
Non-penalty xG: 2.6
Non-penalty G-xG: 2.4

There’s a reason why he remains a long-term target for Liverpool, particularly when you note that his Senegalese teammate Sadio Mane’s own figures are among the very worst in the Premier League. Sarr has missed each of the last four Watford games through injury and Watford have lost all four of those games.


9) Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace)
Non-penalty goals: 6
Non-penalty xG: 3.6
Non-penalty G-xG: 2.4

One of the revelations of the season and, on this evidence, the new England international should more than hold his own for Chelsea if he returns there next summer. Marcelo Bielsa must be kicking himself that he chose Palace over Leeds, who absolutely needed some of that gold-dust this season.


8) Demarai Gray (Everton)
Non-penalty goals: 5
Non-penalty xG: 2.5
Non-penalty G-xG: 2.5

“He’s been a really bright spark for this Everton team this season. There haven’t been many but he has been a breath of fresh air,” said Chris Sutton after Gray’s astonishing winner against Arsenal. Whatever happens to Everton and Rafa Benitez this season, Gray remains a £1.8m bargain. In case you were wondering, the xG for the thrike that beat Aaron Ramsdale was calculated at a miserly 0.02.


7) Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
Non-penalty goals: 4
Non-penalty xG: 1.4
Non-penalty G-xG: 2.6

For six autumn weeks, the Norwegian lost his place in the Arsenal side and it looked like the Gunners had got at least one summer transfer wrong; but then he was recalled after a sobering 4-0 defeat to Liverpool and has since started six games and produced three goals as Arsenal have moved into a top-four spot. “His confidence is really high, the manager has backed him. For me he’s just getting better and better,” says Martin Keown.

Arsenal star Martin Odegaard


6) Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Non-penalty goals: 9
Non-penalty xG: 6.0
Non-penalty G-xG: 3.0

What’s more astonishing? That Jamie Vardy has scored nine Premier League goals without taking a penalty? Or that Jamie Vardy has scored nine Premier League goals at all as the Foxes have faltered? Or that Jamie Vardy has scored nine Premier League goals and has now been dropped for Patson Daka?


5) Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Non-penalty goals: 7
Non-penalty xG: 4.0
Non-penalty G-xG: 3.0

“…You know now, they call me ‘the tap-in merchant’, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, they call me ‘the tap-in merchant’,” said Bernardo Silva. Well, Grealish and Foden are on the naughty step while Silva is undoubtedly one of the footballers of the season so far, so who’s laughing now? He is in extraordinary form.


4) Emmanuel Dennis (Watford)
Non-penalty goals: 7
Non-penalty xG: 3.9
Non-penalty G-xG: 3.1

He cost Watford just £3.4m and he is their greatest chance of avoiding relegation, at which point they can probably sell him for ten times the price. What a season. What a player. Manchester United should have probably coughed up when they could.


3) Maxwell Cornet (Burnley)
Non-penalty goals: 5
Non-penalty xG: 1.5
Non-penalty G-xG: 3.5

A very un-Burnley signing has become a very un-Burnley player capable of the extraordinary. While Chris Wood is operating 1.8 below his xG, the Clarets need Cornet. He was voted the Clarets’ player of 2021 after just nine Premier League games.


2) Mo Salah (Liverpool)
Non-penalty goals: 13
Non-penalty xG: 9.3
Non-penalty G-xG: 3.7

He’s pretty good you know.

Though obviously not as good as…


1) Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)
Non-penalty goals: 7
Non-penalty xG: 2.7
Non-penalty G-xG: 4.3

He has scored with 37% of his shots in the Premier League this season, which is astonishing for a seasoned professional, never mind a 21-year-old with fewer than 100 senior appearances. “An incredible season for a No 10 of Arsenal means he needs to score 15 goals and give 10 assists,” said Mikel Arteta in May when he scored his first Premier League goal. The boy is well on his way.