xG chart shows link between high pressing teams and expected goals conceded

An expected goals (xG) chart has shown how high pressing sides tend to concede fewer scoring chances against them than those who play in deeper positions.

We have seen the pressing game revolutionised in recent years. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool play a gegenpressing style innovated initially in a different form by new Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

Read: How Ralf Rangnick’s style of play influenced Jurgen Klopp

Manchester City also dominate games in their opponents’ half. They relentlessly push players forward to win the ball back and create chances on goal.

What is high pressing?

Pressing involves a team denying the opposing players time on the ball. They do this through consistent running and closing down when they are out of possession.

It is an attacking tactic where a lot of defending is done high up the pitch. Doing this allows the team to quickly win the ball in threatening areas and thread together quick and dangerous attacks.

It works particularly well against teams that play out from the back. Players can close down their opponents, shutting off passing lanes and making it far more difficult for the opposition to get themselves up the pitch.

How does high pressing link to expected goals conceded on an xG chart?

Given the number of players that push high up the field, you may think it would lead to an inordinate amount of chances conceded at the other end.

However, this generally isn’t the case. The style aims to essentially stop the opponent from playing and for a team to enforce their dominance on proceedings.

An xG chart posted on Reddit maps this out perfectly:

We can see that Liverpool and Manchester City – two renowned high pressing sides – are ranked amongst the best for expected goals against per game.

Pep Guardiola’s side concede in the region of 0.2 expected goals against per game. Liverpool hover around the 1.0 mark.

Bayern Munich, meanwhile, employ a high-intensity style under new manager Julian Nagelsmann. They have almost 30% of pressures inside the final third and concede under 1.0 expected goals per game.

The outlier in this particular area is Arsenal. Mikel Arteta’s side ranks highly when it comes to pressures in the final third. However, they are also expected to concede over 1.5 goals per game.

What about the other end of the xG chart?

As you can see by the xG chart, the general trend is that the lower the pressures, the more likely a team is to concede. However, it isn’t always the case.

One point worth mentioning is the quality of teams that rank well on the xG chart. It could be argued that the rankings in both areas are simply down to the talent levels of players, rather than pressing in itself.

It is also interesting to look at Manchester United on this chart. They complete only around 22.5% of pressures in the final third. They also rank quite poorly for expected goals conceded as well.

Manchester United xG
Image Credit: Getty

However, with the appointment of Ralf Rangnick, we’ll likely see United’s position on this xG chart change in the coming weeks and months.

Sevilla and Juventus, meanwhile, concede under an expected figure of 1.0 goals per game. That is while having a percentage of final third pressures of just over 20%.

That shows that although high pressing is often the way to go, other styles get the results you want as well. It is the beauty of football.

Featured Image Credit: Getty