Preview | Maidenhead United (h)

As we head towards this seasons opener with Maidenhead a clash with a riverside festival and a cricket match suggests many Notts fans will be more concerned about the parking situation than the likelihood of a home defeat.


Saturday's game is a replay of last seasons final league fixture, albeit that game was at York Road with a Cal Roberts goal from the penalty spot all that separated the two sides.


This season has the potential to herald a legendary new era at Notts with Luke Williams and Ryan Harley already winning the fans over with their seemingly no nonsense high pressing brand of football. Add to this that the new signings, on the whole, have impressed during pre-season and the likes of Rodrigues and Palmer are still likely to feature early doors there is definitely a sense that this could, at the fourth time of asking, be Notts County's season.


Of course Wrexham have thrown money at everyone and anyone again, similarly Chesterfield are bullish about their chances and the likes of Southend, Dagenham and Solihull have all added quality to their squads so absolutely anything can happen, and most probably will!


Current Form:

With so many squad changes pre-season it's probably not worth comparing recent form with games from last season, however, both clubs, albeit at different ends of the table were on similar trajectories during the latter part of the season with Notts losing out in the play-off's and the 1-0 win at York Road resigning Maidenhead to a 17th place finish, however the 'other' Magpies had rallied having gone the previous 7 games unbeaten, securing their National League birth for another year.


Players:

Left back Sam Beckwith is one of the finest young full backs in the league. The 20 year old recently signed from Luton on a free, and he impressed with Maidenhead on loan last season.


During last season's spell at York Road Beckwith made 29 appearances, and averaged 2.58 crosses per 90 and won 54.96% of his defensive duels.


Sam Beckwith in action for Maidenhead United
Sam Beckwith in action for Maidenhead United (Maidenhead Advertiser)

Maidenhead have also added Dover Athletic forward Koby Arthur during the summer.


Despite playing in a poor side last season Arthur recorded 0.77 smart passes per 90. He also scored 0.2 goals per 90, and scored 13.5% of Dover’s goals despite making just 32 appearances.


Although small in stature (5'6") the 26 year old Ghanaian is a quick forward full of energy and has the ability to make things happen, and with the loss of 15 goal Josh Kelly to Solihull just a couple of weeks ago Arthur will be keen to chip in with the goals to help fill that void.

Koby Arthur - Maidenhead United
Koby Arthur - Maidenhead United

The biggest selection problem for Alan Devonshire will likely be who get's the nod in goal, where Maidenhead have added another former Dover player, Alexis Andre who will be competing for the No1 spot with last seasons shot stopper Daniel Gyollai.


Both keepers are remarkably similar statistically; Andre had a save percentage of 73.68% last term whereas Gyollai had a save percentage of 71.01%.


The biggest difference is with distribution accuracy, where Gyollai has a 91.36% success rate for progressive passes, compared to Andre's 82.76% accuracy.


Both keepers are 25, and will no doubt push each other this season. It's likely Gyollai will start on Saturday having finished last season as first choice, but in truth it is a 50/50.


Alexis Andre Jr vs Daniel Gyollai (Visualisation @tomhwilliams23 | Data: Wyscout)
Alexis Andre Jr vs Daniel Gyollai (Visualisation @tomhwilliams23 | Data: Wyscout)

We couldn't move on from opposition players without a mention of Sam Barratt. The 26 year old attacking midfielder has been a thorn in Notts' side on more than one occasion and assuming he is fit will again be one to watch.


Tactics:

Sixty six year old Alan Devonshire will step into his 8th consecutive season in the Maidenhead dugout on Saturday.


Very much a traditionalist, Devonshire likes to play with a back four with 442/4141 his go to formations. Expect Maidenhead to be physical at the back, defensively well organised and direct going forward, looking to get the ball up to the forward line as quickly as possible.


Stats:

Last season Maidenhead scored just 1.05 goals per 90 minutes against an xG of 1.34 per 90 suggesting they underperformed slightly in front of goal.


Their progressive play could have been better averaging 123 forward passes per 90 with just 53% of those finding a Maidenhead player compared to Notts who averaged 163 forward passes per 90 with 73.20% accuracy.


Defensively they conceded 1.53 goals per game with an xCG of 1.54 suggesting their defensive play concurred with expectations.


Maidenhead are likely to defend in a mid block and with a 9.95 PPDA last season they have a pretty average press. As for Notts, pressing stats is one thing we can expect to see a big change in compared to recent seasons.


Predictions:

For this season we have created a poisson distribution calculation based on xG so we can include match day predictions for all National League fixtures in the previews.


Here are our MD1 predictions:

MD1 xG based score predictions English National League

Odds:

As expected Notts are big favourites with the Bookies where you are looking at a less than enticing 12/25 for the home win.


You can get around 6/1 for the away win and 7/2 for the draw.


Based on these odds the expected chance of Notts win is circa 70%


Conclusions:

Despite some still feeling Notts are a bit light in certain areas you cannot argue with an impressive unbeaten pre-season under a new head coach. The new additions have already shown to be energetic, quick and physical. Add to this a more direct, pressing style of play it's difficult to look past a convincing home win.


One more thing:

Finally I just wanted to officially welcome Tom Williams (@tomhwilliams23) to the Notts County Stats team.


It became apparent last season that I was starting to struggle trying to keep up with the reports and previews and I'm delighted that Tom will be heavily involved in assisting me with this and it is Tom who has contributed the opposition player content in this preview.


If you already follow Tom on Twitter you will know he creates some great, detailed Notts based content so I'm excited to see what we can do together in the future.


In fact myself, Tom and Colin Sisson (@Colin_Sisson) will be your team behind both Notts County Stats and Analysts Bar moving forward, hopefully ensuring we can continue to provide interesting data led football content on a regular basis.


On that note please check out our latest Analysts Bar podcast here where Tom makes a very informative debut on the show . . .



As always thanks for reading. If you have any questions regarding the stats or our work in general please don't hesitate to get in touch.


COYP!

Richard


Notes:

Betting odds and score predictions are only used as another means to assess current form and sporting industry expectations of possible result. Notts County Stats do not endorse any form of gambling or betting industry associated businesses.

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