Put yourself in Bryan Mbeumo's shoes in the 46th minute of last weekend's Premier League clash against Bournemouth.

The ball has been squared onto your good foot and the far corner is gaping, you know exactly what to do. A crisp side-foot finish into an inviting net and you'll be off basking in the adulation. This is your moment.

Right up until it's not... and you have passed the ball wide of the upright.

Many of us have been there, though most parade their talents in front of one man and his dog down the local park. We know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as disbelief dawns and you raise an apologetic hand in the air.

The rest of the game (God forbid it is the last kick of the match) becomes an exercise in atonement and, fortunately for Mbeumo, the Cameroon international had the ability and character to beautifully spin away from his man and score a stoppage-time equaliser in the Bees' 2-2 draw with the Cherries at Gtech Community Stadium last Saturday.

It was Mbeumo's fourth Premier League goal of the season - only the bionic Erling Haaland (6) has more - and the Bees have started the season with a real cutting edge in attack.

Yoane Wissa (two goals) and Kevin Schade (one) have forged a formidable attacking trio alongside Mbeumo in the opening weeks of the campaign and, with Mathias Jensen opening his account last weekend with the top flight's first goal from a direct free-kick, Brentford average a healthy two goals a game.

Further, those who predicted that the Bees would struggle to create chances in Ivan Toney's absence have been proved spectacularly wrong, as Thomas Frank's side have the highest expected goals ranking (10.79xG) in the Premier League after game week four.

In xG layman's terms, Brentford have scored eight goals this season, but they should have scored 11 (let's round up those decimals) given the quality of their chances.

To return to Mbeumo's chance against Bournemouth, the question is: has a Brentford side renowned for its efficiency been profligate so far this season?

Mbeumo's miss weighed in at a considerable 0.47xG given that it was a very good chance (the closer to 1xG you go, the higher the probability a chance will be converted).

Shots from unlikely areas and technically difficult strikes have xGs much closer to zero.

As you have likely noted, there is a paradox at the heart of the expected goals metric: should Bees fans be buzzing that they are carving out good chances or freaking out that they are missing them?

Playmaker sought insider knowledge on this alluring subject, and spoke with X account xG Philosophy to dig deeper into Brentford’s numbers.

“Brentford have scored eight goals so far this campaign - a reasonable return, but the underlying numbers suggest they should’ve had more.

"With 10.79xG created, Brentford have been the most proficient team in the league so far this season at creating goalscoring opportunities," said James Tippett, the founder of the xG Philosophy account and author of the book The Expected Goals Philosophy.

"A large portion of their xG underperformance this season came against Bournemouth last weekend. The Bees created 3.37(xG), but only managed to find the back of the net twice. Thomas Frank said himself after the game that if it was played 100 times, Brentford would’ve won it on 98 occasions.

"Whether the underperformance is due to bad luck (the unlikely bobble of the ball, the brilliant save of a goalkeeper, etc) or bad finishing is debatable - although it’s almost certainly a mixture of the two."

What was glaring about Mbeumo's chance versus the Cherries was that it missed Neto's net entirely, which is particularly surprising given that last season Brentford had the best shots-on-target percentage (36.8 per cent) in the entire division.

The Bees have not dropped drastically in this regard, but fewer of their efforts on goal (33.9 per cent) have hit the target this term to give Frank and his backroom staff food for thought.

It is obviously early days and it is difficult to draw any hard conclusions based on the small data set of the 2023/24 season so far, but xG Philosophy have their own take on why Brentford haven't matched their xG to date in the Premier League.

As Tippett explains: "Brentford pride themselves on their set-piece execution and have gained a reputation over the last two seasons as one of the best teams in the world when it comes to dead-ball situations.

"Over the four Premier League games so far, the Bees have created 2.66xG from such scenarios, but are yet to have scored from one. In other words, they should’ve scored two or three set-pieces (excluding direct free-kicks and penalties)x, but luck has gone against them so far.

"You would expect these situations to start being converted into goals again soon.”

Brentford fans will hope there is substance behind the above dead-ball theory, and it is clear that misses like Mbeumo’s last weekend are the exception rather than the norm.

However, a clinical edge goes a long way in the Premier League - and developing a more ruthless streak can only benefit the Bees this season.

"It only takes a handful of good chances to be missed (0.50xG or thereabouts) for your team to be underperforming by a couple of goals," adds Tippett.

"Football is a sport defined by fine margins and when matches are often decided by a single goal these misses can add up and ultimately have a huge impact on your position in the league."