Saturday afternoon sees Cardiff City host Preston North End in the EFL Championship. Both teams are coming off a victory in their previous matches. Cardiff won 2-1 away at QPR, and Preston won 2-1 at home against Bournemouth. In the reverse fixture back in November 2021, it was Cardiff that won the match 2-1 away at Preston.
Cardiff City’s last game was a 2-1 away victory at Loftus Road Stadium against Queens Park Rangers. Isaak Davies and Rubin Colwill scored in quick succession to snatch the victory away from QPR. After the match, Cardiff City’s record stood at 12 wins, six draws, and 18 losses. xG predicted Cardiff City to score 45 goals but in reality, they have scored 43 goals, two fewer than what xG predicted.
Cardiff City’s shot map does not look as clustered as some of the teams in the top half of the table. So, Cardiff City need to shoot more and capitalize on big chances if they are to improve as an attacking unit. This explains why they have underperformed on their xG. Not even a single player has taken 50 shots this season for Cardiff City. Their joint-top goalscorers have scored only five goals each.
Ryan Giles is the most successful threat creator for Cardiff City this season, followed by Marlon Pack and Will Vaulks. Pack’s throw-ins create significant xT, so do Giles’ corners and crosses. There are not enough dark red zones for Cardiff, which shows their lack of creativity.
Preston North End won their last game 2-1 against promotion hopefuls Bournemouth at home. Cameron Archer and Emil Riis Jakobsen scored for Preston. After the game, Preston’s season results show 12 wins, 14 draws, and 10 losses. xGA predicted Preston to concede 40 goals this season till now, and they have conceded exactly that many goals. Defensively, Preston are in the middle of the table. But their attack is in the bottom half of the table.
Preston North End’s attacking and creativity output are below their opponents. They have got less than 60% in xG per 90, goals per 90, and headers per 90. In terms of passing and progression, they are not much better either, having scored below 60% in four categories (assists per 90, xA per 90, key passes per 90, and progressive runs per 90).
Cardiff City may have scored more goals than Preston North End, but they have also conceded much more than Preston. Hence, Preston are above Cardiff on the points table. Preston North End will look to win to stay in the top half of the table (they are currently seven points off the promotion play-off spots). Cardiff, on the other hand, are in the mid-table, 18 points away from relegation but not close enough to promotion play-off spots. So, this match is a mid-table clash at best.