Standings in any league can be a bit deceiving as we saw with a few English teams being atop of the Premier League a few games into the season. Eventually things evened out and teams such as Hull City or Sunderland face relegation.
In the Spanish ‘Segunda División’ many things have happened in regards to the standings in this 2016/17 season. One of the three relegated Primera clubs from last year -Rayo Vallecano- faces relegation to ‘Segunda División B’ as we see in the graph above.
Expected Goals (xG or ExpG) gives a better estimate of what is really happening on the pitch than other ‘simpler’ metrics such as goals or shot differentials. xG is a metric that analyzes the quality of the chances created in any given game. Every shot is assigned a value based in the probability of that shot converting into a goal. This value is given based on the distance and angle to the goal, but also in the body part used for the shot (feet or head), speed of the play, pass preceding the shot if any, etc.
In the following image we use the expected goal differential model to get a better grasp of how ‘Segunda División’ is going after 26 matches in this season.
Surprisingly enough three of the four relegated clubs from La Liga 2015/16 are in the top four spots 26 matches in. Almería, Mallorca or Córdoba, which were in Spanish First not long ago are very likely going to fight for relegation until the bitter end. While these clubs are still facing managerial changes, clubs like Reus or Huesca, with small budgets have planned their roster in order to maximize their niche style of play.
Girona, currently in the second spot of ‘Segunda’, is the best team according to their expected goal differential.