Breaking down the the top performances from this weeks action across the top 5 leagues. Expected goals (xG) will be provided to give a better idea of how the featured games went.
5. Sevilla: Sevilla were involved in a war with mid table opponents Real Sociedad on Sunday. After an early effort from Mikel Oyarzabal made it 1-0 for Sociedad, Sevilla settled in and were able to command the rest of the game, midfielder Ever Banega lashed home a half volley across the keeper to equalize in the 18th minute, then just after half-time, Sevilla were able to take advantage of a sleeping Sociedad on a set piece; the ball would find winger Lucas Ocampos who did brilliantly to beat his marker and strike a venomous ball right past the ear of keeper Moyǻ. Finally with ten minutes to go Italian midfielder Franco Vazquez subs on for Ever Banega and seals the deal almost instantaneously slotting away a rebound in the box. Sociedad were able to grab one back from substitute attacker Portu, but it wasn’t enough as Sevilla’s impressive performance was enough to hold out the hot Sociedad team that had only lost once coming into this.
Final: 3-2 Sevilla
xG: (1.60 – 0.72)
4. Inter: Inter Milan once again find themselves among the top performers of the week, the Nerazzurri haven’t dropped any points yet, they sit at a perfect 6-0-0 with another spectacular performance coming this past weekend. In new signing Alexis Sanchez’s first start for Inter, the Chilean forward was not only able to net his first goal for the Italian club in the twenty-second minute, but the lad also went on and picked up two yellow cards in under 50 minutes! The second of the two saw Sanchez trying to win a penalty for Inter but it was of no avail as the referee booked Alexis for simulation and sent him to the dressing room early. Opponents Sampdoria were able to ride the momentum of the red card and pull one back, thanks to a left-footed effort from from Czech midfielder Jakub Jankto which found the bottom right corner. The confident Inter side weren’t phased and were able to stabilize themselves after losing Sanchez and conceding. Marcelo Brzovic played a brilliant ball that parted the back line and was able to find the foot of Italian Roberto Gagliardini; the 25 year-old was denied on his attempt to redirect the quick pass, but turned in his own rebound; lifting Inter to their 6th straight league win. Next week will be their biggest test as they come up against Cristiano Ronaldo and second place Juventus at the San Siro.
Final: 3-1 Inter
xG: (2.17 – 1.31)
3. Nantes: Now, in no means was this the most exciting fixture of the weekend. But it would be criminal to leave Nantes’ recent efforts unnoticed. The french side have held five clean sheets out of eight games, winning four of their five wins by a score of 1-0. Call it luck, call it whatever you want; this club is keeping the ball from going in their net. They came up against a tough task in Lyon this past weekend, but the level of opponent didn’t seem to worry the confident side. Despite being outshot, outpossesed and outchanced by Lyon, Les Canaris did what they do best and hung on, their resiliency was eventually rewarded as the ball took an odd deflection off Lyon defender Fernando Marçal in the fifty-eighth minute and fluttered over the head of keeper Anthony Lopes and just over the line, this flukey goal is all 20 year-old French keeper Alban Lafont needed as he made numerous saves to keep his team ahead and eventually succeeded with Nantes moving on to another very impressive 1-0 win.
Final: 1-0 Nantes
xG (0.52 – 0.96)
2.Leicester City: Brendan Rogers’ Leicester City are really hitting their stride early in the season, the foxes sit at 3rd in the premier league at the moment, with recent wins against Tottenham in the league and Luton Town in the league cup, this weekend they moved on to Newcastle at home. Leicester played arguably their most dominant performance of the season so far; holding nearly 70% possession and keeping their opponents at 0 shots on target for the entire game. It was only 1-0 up until the forty-third minute where Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden put in a reckless challenge on Belgian midfielder Dennis Praet which found the Newcastle player sent off and left with 10 men to deal with Leicester City. The foxes came out in the second half looking to capitalize, and that’s just what happened, Leicester front man Jamie Vardy was able to net two goals in 10 minutes along with a Paul Dummet own goal in between and a Wilfreid Ndidi volley in the 90th minute which added insult to injury for Newcastle. In a start to the season with some of the top six sides struggling, a big question at hand is whether Leicester can continue their form and find themselves back in champions league football once again. They lost star centre-back Harry Maguire, but the side have defended as well as ever with new pairing Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans playing incredibly well together. They come up against their toughest task yet, as they face undefeated Liverpool away from home in what should be an absolute cracker.
Final: 5-0 Leicester City
xG: (1.82 – 0.05 LMAO)
1.Schalke: Last but not least is Schalke, Schalke faced a very tall task in Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig away from home this past weekend. Manager David Wagner mapped out a smart game plan and Schalke were able to sit back and burn Leipzig whenever the opportunity arose, holding only 36% possession, you would think they spent most of the game watching, but Schalke tremendously were able to create tons of offence in the little time they had with the ball; outshooting their opponents 8 shots to 6 (on target), with two first half goals coming from a Salif Sane header and a converted spot kick from leading goalscorer Amine Harit, this put Leipzig on their heels early and was very key for Schalke’s plan as it opened up tons of room for counter attacks in the second half, this was the result of Schalke’s third goal as 19 year-old Welsh winger Rabbi Matondo netted his first ever Bundesliga goal in his first ever Bundesliga appearance, what a way to make your debut! The only mistake Schalke made on either side of the pitch came late, as keeper Alexander Nubel misdirected a long shot from Emil Forsberg into his own goal. Probably something the keeper will laugh off after as great of a performance as that.
xG: ( 2.65 – 1.28)
For more info on xG, check this out: https://cartilagefreecaptain.sbnation.com/2015/4/10/8381071/football-statistics-expected-goals-michael-caley-deadspin