In England, the derby between Liverpool FC and Everton FC is scheduled for the weekend in the Premier League. Leaders Arsenal travel to Manchester United, while second-placed Manchester City travel to Aston Villa. In the second division on Saturday afternoon, midfield team Preston North End welcomes third from bottom Birmingham City.
The last game may not quite fit into the series at first. But it’s worth taking a closer look at the goal difference. There Preston, England’s first football champions in the 1888/89 season, achieved the extraordinary and became the first team in the English top division to start a season with seven clean sheets.
The previous record was held by Chelsea, who did not concede in their first six games in the Premier League in the 2005/06 season. Borussia Dortmund holds the record in the Bundesliga, BVB went five times without conceding a goal in 2017/18.
Preston drew 0-0 five times and 1-0 twice, picking up eleven points and sitting tenth in the table. Because it’s hard to believe, once again this treat for all statistics lovers: Games 7. Wins 2. Draws 5. Losses 0. Goals 2:0. Goal difference plus 2. Points 11. Previous scorers: Brad Potts and Riis Jakobsen.
For comparison: The teams in the immediate vicinity of the most successful minimalists from the city, located about 50 kilometers north-west of Manchester, have a goal difference of 12:10 (Queens Park Rangers) and 11:13 (Hull City).
When the 1-0 win at Coventry City was confirmed on Wednesday evening, the club tweeted a picture of goalkeeper Freddie Woodman: “Seven clean sheets to start the Championship Season”. So the seventh clean record (six clean sheets was a club record) in the league for Woodman, who was previously at Newcastle United and joined Preston after many loans before this season.
The teammates had fulfilled the goalkeeper’s wish. After the goalless draw against Cardiff City, he had previously noted on the club’s website that it was time to win games without conceding a goal.
Woodman conceded his only goal so far in a competitive game for the new club on August 9 in the League Cup (4-1 at Huddersfield Town). When PNE, as it is commonly known, lost 2-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the second round of the competition, the 25-year-old was not in goal.
The chances that Woodman’s series will continue in the home stadium Deepdale are not bad, at least statistically speaking: Next opponent Birmingham City scored the second fewest goals in the league. Namely four (just like Cardiff City). Only … Preston North End scored fewer goals.