Top 10 Premier League finishers defying their xG

Sarah Winterburn
Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe

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 nowhere near top. Statistics are taken from the brilliant FB.Ref.


10) Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Non-penalty goals: 15
Non-penalty xG: 12.7
Non-penalty G-xG: 2.3

He takes far, far more shots than any other Premier League player but it still takes a mighty fine finisher to over-score to this extent. His actual shot conversion rate (25%) is almost identical to that of Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane (both 24%), which is one of the many reasons why Liverpool really are rather good.


9) Reece James (Chelsea)
Non-penalty goals: 4
Non-penalty xG: 1.7
Non-penalty G-xG: 2.3

Full-backs who score four goals are always likely to appear on such a list because their strikes are unlikely to be tap-ins. They have missed him.


8) Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Non-penalty goals: 9
Non-penalty xG: 6.4
Non-penalty G-xG: 2.6

Pin-pointed as one of the issues at Manchester United, but the truth is that nobody has scored more Premier League goals for the Reds this season than Fernandes. He is still just about in the black.


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

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. He was the no-brainer choice for this list.


6) Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Non-penalty goals:
Non-penalty xG: 
Non-penalty G-xG: 

Heading for his third double-figure Premier League scoring tally in four seasons, Zaha now has eight including penalties. His two goals v Watford last week came from an xG of close to 0.2, catapulting him up this list.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha celebrates his goal


5) Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace)
Non-penalty goals:
Non-penalty xG: 
Non-penalty G-xG: 

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


4) Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Non-penalty goals: 10
Non-penalty xG: 6.6
Non-penalty G-xG: 3.4

Leicester did not win any of the five games Vardy missed with a hamstring injury and he was then pivotal off the bench as the Foxes returned to winning ways against Burnley. He remains a supreme finisher even at the age of 86.


3) Maxwell Cornet (Burnley)
Non-penalty goals: 6
Non-penalty xG: 2.6
Non-penalty G-xG: 3.4

The goals have dried up somewhat but the Clarets would have been in far, far deeper trouble without Cornet, who will have suitors this summer if they cede to relegation.


2) Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Non-penalty goals: 7
Non-penalty xG: 3.4
Non-penalty G-xG: 3.6

Just a player of supreme brilliance. Simple.


1) Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)
Non-penalty goals: 9
Non-penalty xG: 3.8
Non-penalty G-xG: 5.2

He has scored with 39% 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 last May when he scored his first Premier League goal. He might well argue that he would already be pretty close to that target if Arteta started him more often.