The EFL Championship table is getting exciting as more than ten teams are in contention to make the playoffs. The majority of the teams are separated by a single digit. Preston North End is one of the teams vying for a place in the playoffs. The club is sitting 11th in the league standings and only four points behind the playoff spots. One of the reasons why the team is in contention to make it to the playoffs is their away form. Preston have the third-best away record in the EFL Championship. They have played 14 matches away from home and recorded eight wins along with three draws and three defeats. Their away form has been miserable; they have lost their last five matches at Deepdale Stadium. Now we look at some of the stats from the current season that suggest why Preston North End’s away form could be the key to making it to the playoffs this season.
Decent scoring record on travels
Preston North End have won 11, lost 11, and drawn the other seven matches. They have scored 27 goals and average less than one goal per match. The average xG rate of the team stands at 1.11. On their travels, the team scored 18 goals in 14 matches. The average goals per match are above one, but the xG rate is a bit low at 0.99.
Preston North End have managed to get results on their travels. If we look at their overall stats, then we get to know that the Lilywhites are more clinical with their finishing in away matches. Overall, the team creates 25.66 positional attacks and 1.59 counterattacks per match. They take 10.14 shots, and 35.4% of them are on target. Preston averages 22.57 positional attacks and 1.43 counterattacks on the road and only takes 8.7 shots with a 42.6% accuracy rate. This shows that the team is more clinical with their attacks away from home. Their conversion rate is on the higher side.
The above visual shows the shot map from the last nine away matches. Preston North End have scored 15 goals, with 12 coming from inside the opposition penalty box. The players have been very clinical with their finishing and have targeted the corner of the goal on most occasions. Most of the shots off the target have been attempted either from outside the penalty box or from the wider sides.
Preston North End recorded two famous victories on their travels. Against Blackburn Rovers, the team scored four goals, and against Norwich City, they went on to score three goals. These two teams are also in contention to make the playoffs. Preston scored seven goals from just 20 shot attempts. Against Norwich City, the team only attempted six shots, of which five were on target.
Progression with the ball
Preston North End mainly focus on attacking from the wider zones. Looking at the visual of the last nine away matches, the team has progressed mostly from the wings, especially from the left side.
The attacks created from the flanks often mean that the play involves a few crosses. Preston players try 14.86 crosses per match and deliver 37.8% of them. On their travels, the team crosses the ball only 10.29 times per match and delivers 39.6% of them. Though most of the progressive runs have been made from the left side, the highest accuracy for crosses comes from the right side.
A contrast in defensive records
The Lilywhites are a different team on their travels this season. They have conceded 33 goals at an average xGA rate of 1.23. At home, the team has conceded 20 goals in 15 matches. Preston has only conceded 13 goals in 14 away games, with an average xGA rate of 1.11. There is no statistically significant difference in the win percentage of duels. However, the team intercepts more passes in away matches. Overall, the team makes 46.38 interceptions per match, and on the road, they average 51.57 interceptions. The above viz shows the defensive territory of the last nine away matches. It can be observed that the majority of the defensive actions have been made in the defensive third. The team committed some fouls in the defensive third and conceded a penalty as well.
Preston North End players have put their bodies on the line by making a few crucial blocks. In the last nine away matches, the team has blocked 24 shots, with a few coming inside the box. The goalkeeper has also saved 25 shots in these nine matches. The overall contributions in these areas have been the key to their success.
According to the 1×2 betting odds, Preston North End will have a higher chance of winning. However, on their travels, it might go a bit downhill as the results have gone in their favour. As for the over/under lines, the underlines are set to thrive.
Preston North End will look to carry this momentum to the end of the season. They have struggled at home and will look for some room for improvement in the remaining home matches. As of now, the team is on a successful away run, which might help them reach the top six.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine