On Friday 15th April 2022, 13th place Preston North End host 9th place Millwall in the EFL Championship. In the reverse fixture two months ago (1st Feb 2022, to be precise), both the teams played out a goalless draw at the Den with Preston’s Whiteman missing a penalty. Coming into this game, Preston won 2-1 against QPR at home and Millwall won 4-1 against Barnsley at home.
Preston North End come into this game having won 2-1 against QPR at home with a goal from Cameron Archer and an own goal by Jimmy Dunne of QPR. This win leaves Preston with 14 wins, 15 draws and 12 losses to their name this season. Preston have the most draws of any team this season and one reason could be their underperformance in front of goal. xG predicted Preston to score 52 times, but they have scored only 43 times this campaign.
Seen above is the shot map of Preston North End from open play this season. Preston have missed a few big chances that had an xG of 0.4 or greater but it is not as bad as some other teams that have massively underperformed in attack. But had Preston taken at least some of these missed chances, they would be higher in the league table and maybe even competing for the promotion play-off spots.
Midfielder Ben Whiteman is Preston leading threat creator this season from open play as well as from set pieces. Hence, it is no surprise to see him lead the assist chart for the team. In second place for threat creation for Preston is Ryan Ledson. Most of Preston’s threat has come down the left wing.
Millwall won their previous game in emphatic fashion defeating relegation threatened Barnsley by four goals to one. This win means Millwall still have a mathematical chance to qualify for the promotion play-offs and it leaves them with a record of 16 wins, 13 draws and 12 losses. One of the reasons why Millwall are still in the hunt for the play-offs is their overachieving defence. While Millwall were expected to concede 57 goals, they have actually let in just 40 goals. This overperformance at the back is why Millwall have a positive goal difference.
Seen in the above chart is the performances of Millwall relative to the rest of the league. Millwall are slightly underperforming in attack with 1.0 goals per game compared to 1.05 xG per game. But their defence has been more than enough to cover any attacking deficiencies this season on most occasions.
This game is crucial for Millwall if they are to get closer to the promotion play-offs. Preston, on the other hand, will look to solidify their midtable status.