North End lost to Cardiff by a solitary goal which is becoming a theme at Deepdale. The game was live in front of the cameras with numerous statistics thrown about.
The truth is Preston have been on a poor run for the vast majority of 2020. Home form has been a concern for some time. Teams have worked out how to play against Alex Neil. The first goal is critical and any half decent side who takes the lead can sit back and soak up what is an ineffective threat.
Neil plays with a front three of sorts but this consists of two widemen. This more often than not leaves a sole frontman up top alone. Typically Maguire has played in that role.
Whilst Maguire is never a 20 goal a season man (he'd probably struggle to score 10 in a decent side) it seems a little unfair that Preston decide to play long balls and expect the smallest man on the pitch to bring others into play.
Cardiff were always going to be strong physically. Preston were restricted to long range efforts until late on. It has been some time since Preston moved the ball quickly and broke teams down. Space is denied and teams simply sit back knowing Preston lack the creativity to break them down.
Having said all of the above the game should have ended level. Cardiff scored on the counter attack. Poor defending from both Davies and Baeur allowed Ojo to srpint through on goal and convert past Rudd.
Preston arguably had their best spell at the end of the game when Stockley and new signing Riis came on to offer height up front. It was a different angle of attack and did create some joy albeit no goal.
Alex Neil is stunted by sides that sit back. His formation and tactics do not help at home given there is a distinct lack of creativity to break own a stubborn defence. Preston do not possess that quality.
Games come thick and fast but Neil will have to work out a solution before Preston get stuck in a battle towards the bottom of the division.