Sunday mornings are glorious. You’re hungover, you’re dreaming of a dirty fry-up and your missus is playing Christmas music in the first week of November, while you pretend to hate it.
I think it was Andy Williams who said it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Now, I’m not sure what he had in mind when he wrote that song was Preston away to Charlton, but it couldn’t have been far off.
Here are your three best bets ahead of this stomper.
Let’s get this one out of the way early. Charlton are a solid unit under Lee Bowyer but Preston have an edge, particularly as they’re below expectations away from home at the moment.
The way Alex Neil has set Preston up means they’re a possession-based unit who gorgeously carve teams open.
Preston’s sole away win in the Championship this year was at Birmingham – a team who generally afford the opposition possession in the first place, so it played into their hands.
Luckily for them, Charlton average 45% of the ball at home – a similar total to that of Birmingham’s.
When that Preston midfield is allowed to dictate play, they look a much more impressive unit and that will be the case come Sunday.
There are two potential bet-winners in here for us.
Preston and Charlton are both guilty of contributing to a potentially-perfect storm. Preston’s centre-halves are very grabby from set-pieces – meaning they’re susceptible to coughing up penalties.
They’ve also gotten away with it largely to this point, meaning, you’d hope, referees are being briefed on it prior to their games.
Charlton, meanwhile, consistently hack in the box. This doesn’t bode well for them when you consider how quick-footed some of the North End attackers are, particularly in the box. Alex Neil demands possession, and that applies in the final third as well.
You see Preston players take more touches in the opposition area than any other team, and that could well be to the detriment of Charlton on Sunday afternoon.
Charlton are performing way above their expected goals tally. Their 1.2 goals per home game is still below the league average of 1.3, but it’s considerably above the 0.95 goals per game they’re creating chances to produce.
These trends generally tend to catch up with you as Charlton have produced a couple of absolute screamers to date. That rarity doesn’t continue consistently throughout a season and usually allows for managers to gloss over performances with results.
The Addicks haven’t gotten into a groove, are yet to cement an identity but they’re not performing poorly enough in the Championship to realise this yet.
A Sunday meeting with Preston seems like the ideal occasion for them to be dragged right back down to earth.
Charlton v Preston Best Bets
*All odds correct at time of posting