Darwin Nunez goal vs Sheffield United has broken xG scores

Darwin Nunez scored the opening goal for Liverpool against Sheffield United - and it broke xG modelling. The Uruguayan is mystifying.

Darwin Nunez got his 11th Premier League goal of the season as he scored the opener against Sheffield United at Anfield on Thursday evening. But it wasn't exactly his 'cleanest' goal.

Really, it was the most Darwin goal. People say he's a better finisher when he doesn't have to think about it - well he barely knew he was shooting here.

Nunez chased down a pass to Sheffield United goalkeeper Ivo Grbic but not with all that much intensity. He broke into a sprint for the last couple of yards and that was enough to get him a goal.

Grbic attempted to clear it down the middle of the pitch and simply booted it into Nunez. The ball rebounded off the Uruguayan's back leg and straight into the net.

1-0 Liverpool, didn't have to do all that much.

In fact, the goal was so unusual that xG modelling didn't know how to handle it. Was it an easy goal or a near-impossible one?

Darwin Nunez vs xG modelling

xG, or Expected Goals, rates the probability of a given shot going in based on historical data. It scores it as '1' if the strike is absolutely certain (though, no shots are actually rated as 1, given it's technically possible to miss from anywhere), and 0.01 if a shot is next to impossible to score.

xGphilosophy on X were quick to Tweet out that 'this goal confused' their model'. FotMob, who also track xG data, have it sitting at 0.08. That's essentially saying the shot had virtually no chance of going in.

And yet, it was also an open goal - such an easy finish that Nunez did it without even really knowing about it.

So we end up with a fine example of why data can be correct the vast majority of the time but still be incredibly wrong on occasions. A random occurrence that ended up in the net.

Very Darwin.

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