The 2022-23 EFL Championship season will kick off this weekend. One of the games on Saturday sees Wigan Athletic take on Preston North End at the DW Stadium. The hosts won promotion to the second tier by winning the EFL League One title last season on the final matchday. Meanwhile, Preston North End finished 13th last season in the Championship. Both teams will have different objectives this season. The Latics will aim for survival in the division while the Lilywhites will try to push for a top-half finish.
Wigan Athletic won the 2021-22 EFL League One title having finished the campaign with 92 points. They had 27 wins, 11 draws and eight losses with a goal difference of +38. The Latics vastly overachieved on their xG as they scored 82 goals compared to an xG of only 61. They scored the joint most goals (along with Oxford United), but their xG ranking was only 15th.
Midfielder Max Power was the highest threat creator for Wigan Athletic last season. He generated the most threat for the team from both open play as well as dead-ball situations. In fact, he produced 2.5 times more threat than the next best Latics man. Unsurprisingly, he provided the most assists in the Wigan squad (11), followed by Callum Lang and James McClean, with eight and seven assists, respectively.
Preston North End finished 13th in the EFL Championship last season with 64 points. They had a record of 16 wins, 16 draws and 14 losses with a goal difference of -4. They ended up scoring 52 goals, but xG predicted them to score as many as 59, meaning the Lilywhites underperformed on their xG by 11.86%. Their actual goals scored ranking was 18th, whereas xG ranked them in 11th place.
Preston North End’s underperformance in goals can be seen above. Despite having an xG of 1.18 per 90, they could muster only 0.99 goals per 90, the latter ranking them in the bottom half. They attempted less than 10 shots per 90, which meant that they could not generate that many chances. However, they were average across the board when it came to creativity. The Lilywhites’ 0.65 assists per 90 was exactly the median value. They were barely ranked in the top half for both key passes per 90 and smart passes per 90.
Both Wigan Athletic and Preston North End will be looking to get their season off to a positive start with a win. The Latics’ main aim will be to avoid the drop zone by the end of the season, while Preston will look for a top-half finish.