Soccer

Never mind Jeff Stelling’s derision, expected goals – xG – is here to stay | Paul MacInnes

Real football men vs the nerdy analytics crowd … opinion is wildly divided over the new metric cited by Arsène Wenger but hated by Jeff Stelling and his Soccer Saturday old pros

Jeff Stelling is known for being a cheery sort. The most exasperated he ever gets is when Hartlepool are drubbed and, even then, he usually bears it with the fatalism of the long-suffering supporter. This week, however, the Sky Sports presenter has starred in a much-shared clip in which he goes on an actual rant. And the subject? Expected goals.

In the run-up to their coverage of the north London derby, Stelling observed to his Soccer Saturday pundits that Arsène Wenger had done a daft thing. “He quoted expected goals!” Stelling said to an audible “No!” from one of his guests (perhaps Phil Thompson). “He’s the first person I’ve ever heard take any notice of expected goals, which must be the most useless stat in the history of football! What does it tell you? The game’s finished 3-1, why do you show expected goals afterwards?”

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