Stat, Viz, Quiz is the weekly Opta Analyst football newsletter. Our latest edition includes numbers on Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen, expected goals, and Arsenal.

We know it’s not October, but we’re still feeling a bit German here at Opta Analyst HQ.

That’s because Xabi Alonso’s remarkable Bayer Leverkusen have done it again. They continue to do things either not seen since the best Bayern Munich sides, or indeed, ever. We’ll kick things off this week by looking at Die Werkself’s latest accolade.

We’re also in the mood to look at goals because, well, it’s a day that ends in the letter ‘y’. There are some notable numbers around the Premier League’s expected goals and actual goals this season, so we’ll be diving headfirst into a big bowl of that.

You know the rest by now. A tremendous quiz, a fascinating Ask Opta question and an interview with Taylor Swift to discuss the latest goings on at Tranmere Rovers… What? She declined? Sorry folks, just the quiz and AskOpta, then.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe below and receive Stat, Viz, Quiz direct to your inbox every Tuesday.

STAT Lofty Leverkusen

Es ist wunderbar! Bayer Leverkusen continue to topple all before them on what is increasingly looking like the year they finally win their first ever Bundesliga title.

Xabi Alonso has masterminded his team to 61 points from 23 league games, eight points ahead of Bayern Munich as they look to become the first team in over a decade to stop Die Rekordmeister from lifting the Meisterschale (is that enough German words for now? We don’t sprechen much more Deutsch).

Their 2-1 win against Mainz on Friday was not the most convincing but was the epitome of the sort you’ll always need at some stage to lift a title.

It was a momentous occasion at BayArena. It marked 33 games in all competitions since Leverkusen last suffered defeat, a new record. Inevitably, it was a record previously held by Bayern that was set in September 2020, signalling a potential power shift in the German top flight, for this season at least.

Leverkusen consecutive games unbeaten 1

While it may be a record, it is all the more impressive that 29 of those 33 games have been wins, with Leverkusen only dropping points on four occasions.

To compare it to the records of some other countries, France’s longest unbeaten run by a top-flight club was achieved by Paris Saint-Germain, who remained undefeated for 37 games. Surprisingly, this was pre-QSI investment, with the record set in April 1994.

In England, the longest unbeaten competitive run on record is Nottingham Forest’s 40 between November 1977 and December 1978. In Spain, it’s also 40 games by Real Madrid between April 2016 and January 2017.

Leverkusen will be aiming to go the whole season unbeaten. A big ask, but this team has achieved some remarkable things already.

Die Unbesiegbar? Oh wait, we did know one more German word.

VIZ Who Gets Less/More Than Expected?

Premier League goal difference v xG difference
Viz by Jonathan Manuel

We love goals, which is just as well. There were 158 of them scored in 42 Premier League games in the month of February following West Ham’s 4-2 win over Brentford on Monday. It’s the highest average goals per game in a month in the competition’s history (3.8 goals per game).

Some teams will feel they still aren’t scoring enough goals, though, and/or are conceding too many.

As this week’s viz above shows, there are seven teams in the Premier League who are underperforming against their expected goals (xG).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, bottom-place Sheffield United are the worst offenders. The Blades have a goal difference of -44 after Matchday 26, from an xG difference of -27.93, meaning they have underperformed by around 16 goals.

Brentford have also been pretty inefficient, scoring 37 goals from 42.57 xG, and conceding 48 goals from 39.93 xG against. That means they’re on a goal difference of -11 despite an xG difference of +2.64.

Everton have four points back on the board following their appeal against their previous deduction, but they’ll also want to address their underperformance on the pitch to pull further away from relegation. Sean Dyche’s men have a goal difference of -6 despite an xG difference of +2.98, while Chelsea sit on +1 from an xG difference of +8.95.

As for the teams who are overperforming, Tottenham – sans Harry Kane – lead the way. Ange Postecoglou’s side are on a goal difference of +14 from an xG difference of only +0.39, meaning they have so far overperformed by more than 13 goals.

It might shock you to learn, given the general opinion around Darwin Núñez’s finishing, that Liverpool aren’t far behind. Jürgen Klopp’s league leaders (and EFL Cup winners) have a goal difference of +38 from an xG difference of just 26.52, overperforming by more than 11 goals. Aston Villa (GD of +21 from xGD of +12.12) and Wolves (GD of 0 from xGD of -7.05) are also showing some efficiency.

What about Manchester City and Arsenal? Yes, they’re both overperforming as well. City have a GD of +33 from an xGD of +27.82, while the Gunners have a GD of +39 from the largest xGD in the Premier League by some way of +35.42.

Manchester United you might think would be underperforming given they returned to a GD of 0 at the weekend. Actually, no. Erik ten Hag’s men are overperforming by more than two goals, with an xGD of -2.63.

The team closest to their xGD are Brighton, who have a GD of +8 from an xGD of +7.17, meaning Roberto De Zerbi’s side pretty much perform as expected, in terms of goal volume anyway.

What can we expect for the rest of the season? Lots more goals, we believe.

QUIZ Luiz’s Home Comforts, Fulham’s Late Show, and Klopp’s Cup Collection

A mixed weekend for the Manchester clubs, a supreme Arsenal performance and Liverpool securing the EFL Cup. Another action-packed few days, with enough things happening to allow us to do a quiz. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1. After his brace against Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz has scored nine goals this season, all at home. Who is the only Premier League player to score more home goals in 2023-24?

2. Alex Iwobi’s winner for Fulham with 96 mins, 4 secs on the clock is the second-latest winning goal ever scored against Manchester United in the Premier League. When was the latest? Clue: It occurred last season.

3. Bukayo Saka has scored in his last five Premier League appearances for Arsenal, the first Englishman to do so for the club since who?

4. Jürgen Klopp won his second EFL Cup for Liverpool on Sunday. Who is the only manager in the club’s history to win more?

5. Jarrod Bowen scored the first hat-trick of his career in English football against Brentford on Monday, and the first for West Ham in the Premier League since who netted four goals against Norwich City in July 2020?

Ask Opta

This week’s AskOpta came to us via email from regular question asker Silvestar Bistrović, who queries: “Arsenal’s first-half pressure [vs Newcastle] was pretty intense. Do you have any stats on how good it was and was there any better this season (Arsenal and overall)?”

Do you have a stat-based question you’d like Opta to answer in a future edition of SVQ? Email us at or message us on X @OptaAnalyst with #AskOpta and we’ll pick the best one.


We do have stats on that, with many of them referenced in Monday’s article on the Opta Analyst website on Arsenal’s impressive first half vs Newcastle United.

Mikel Arteta’s men really gave the visitors the run-around at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. They were only 2-0 up at the break – going on to win 4-1 – but in truth they had the game won by half-time in spirit, if not scoreline.

Arsenal won possession in the attacking third of the pitch 11 times in the first half, and 14 times overall – their highest total in a game this season. That first-half total of 11 was the joint-most in a Premier League game this season in the first 45 minutes of a game – level with Tottenham vs Brighton and West Ham vs Nottingham Forest.

The Gunners were rampant and look primed to put up a serious challenge to Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League title race… assuming they can also handle the pressure.

Arsenal final third possession win v Newcastle first half

What Are We up to at Opta Analyst?

Here’s some of the latest data-driven offerings you can find on our website:

👶 Liverpool’s Kindergarten Kop Shows You Can Win Anything with Kids, and Virgil van Dijk

🔥 Arsenal’s Blistering First Half Against Newcastle Showed How Much They Mean Business

⚽️ Everton’s Points Penalty Reduced: What it Means for the Premier League Relegation Battle

📈 Championship Promotion Race Predictions: Leicester and Leeds on Track for Premier League Return

🏆 Who Will Win the Premier League in 2023-24?

Opta Player Ratings & Games

Opta Games logo

If you haven’t done so yet, check out and play Opta’s FREE weekly football challenges, Opta Max and Opta Five.

Both games are powered by the Opta Player Ratings, a measure that takes into account over 100 different metrics to provide an accurate performance score (out of 100) for every player in a single match.

This week’s top-rated played was West Ham’s hat-trick hero Jarrod Bowen, who scored a near-perfect 99.7 after his excellent showing against Brentford.

In Opta Max and Opta Five you can compare players’ latest players ratings and stats. Then put your player ratings knowledge to the test for a chance to win big prizes each week of the football season.

Head to the website to find out more and start playing Opta Games.

Quiz Answers

1. Mohamed Salah (11)

2. vs Brighton in May 2023 (1-0, Alexis Mac Allister’s penalty after 98 mins, 17 secs)

3. Ian Wright (a run of seven between September and November 1994)

4. Bob Paisley (three)

5. Michail Antonio

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