Football Manager 2021 xG: Analytic tool will create tactical changes to FM21

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There is just a month until Football Manager 2021 arrives and Sports Interactive is giving players a whirlwind tour of various new features within the game.

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One of the biggest additions comes during games in the data analysis realm. xG is here!

What is xG?

A relatively recent incarnation, xG stands for "expected goals", and gives a snapshot of one team's performance in a game.

xG is made up from a number of factors but its basic job is to show how many goals a player or team should have scored on average given their shooting angle, distance to goal, assist type, and other factors.

fm21 xG 1
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DOMINATION: xG can tell the story of how dominant a team was beyond just the score line

Different stat houses mix their xG recipe differently, and SI has partnered with SciSports to bring a tailor-made xG system to Football Manager 2021.

Thanks to data from the match engine, the FM21 xG recipe can include opponent positional data as well as the speed of the shot.


Optimise your tactics

Every armchair manager in FM games tries to create the ever-elusive "unbeatable tactic".

Well now that xG is included, you will be able to see more clearly how your team is creating chances and the quality of the attacking moves your tactic creates.

READ MORE: FM21 Tactics: New features could create big changes

That means you can start to tweak your tactical instructions to work the ball into high xG areas, and deny your opponent the same space.

fm21 tactics 1
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WILL IT STILL WORK: xG could expose some flaws in your current tactics

You can view in detail xG in both the half-time review and full-time summary where you’ll be able to see the xG match story and how each team’s xG has fluctuated over the course of the game.


You can also view xG shot maps for both teams that show each shot’s xG rating. Post-match, xG will be included in the analysis you receive from your data team.

Whether this changes the ultra-high press, high-defensive line meta of FM20 or not remains to be seen, but we can't wait to try it out!

FM21 release date

Football Manager 2021 arrives on 24 November.

There will be a two-week Early Access for players that pre-order the game.