Preview: Barnsley vs Fulham

George Singer 25th January 2018

The Whites are searching for their fourth consecutive victory on Saturday, but to achieve that they’ll have to break through a Barnsley side looking to keep some distance between themselves and the Championship relegation zone. Looking in detail at The Tykes, it’s our man George Singer.

Their Recent Results

L: Aston Villa 3-1 Barnsley
D: Wolves 0-0 Fulham
L: Millwall 4-1 Barnsley (FA Cup)
W: Sunderland 0-1 Barnsley
D: Barnsley 1-1 Reading

Our Recent Meetings

December 2017: Fulham 2-1 Barnsley
January 2017: Fulham 2-0 Barnsley
October 2016: Barnsley 2-4 Fulham
February 2001: Barnsley 0-0 Fulham

Match Odds with Grosvenor Casino

Barnsley: 13/5
Draw: 13/5
Fulham: 19/20
Fulhamish Tip: Fulham to win and both teams to score is at 13/5 with Grosvenor

New players at Grosvenor Casino get a £20 sign-up bonus, and double odds on your first bet up to £10.

Dom’s Away Pub Planner

  1. The Dove Inn, 102 Doncaster Rd, S70 1TP – This pub which is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, is an outlet for the Old Mill Brewery. It is only a five minute walk away from the ground down Oakwell Lane and is happily frequented by both home and away fans.
  2. Metrodome Leisure Complex, 1 Benedict Rd, SR6 0NX – Popular with away fans and in easy walking distance of Oakwell , which has a bar inside and also offers food
  3. The Joseph Bramah, 15 Market Hill, S70 2PX – The better of the 2 wetherspoons outlets in the town centre as is a lot bigger as is spaced over more than 1 floor.

Hello and welcome to another edition of Before the Whistle! Today I take a look at Barnsley, and show what we should expect to see as we try and do the double over the Reds.

Last time we played

It’s only been a month since we last played Barnsley, where we met on the turf of the Cottage in a pre-Christmas showdown.

The Whites started the match well, dominating possession. However, we were unable to find a first-half break through against a stern Barnsley defence. In fact, the best opportunity fell to Barnsley. In a moment of truly calamitous keeping, Bettinelli mistimed a clearance and dropped the ball right at the feet of the Barnsley striker. Thankfully, the chipped shot was slightly too weak, saving the blushes of our red-faced number one.

The second half proved to be more prosperous for Fulham. Ayite found the net with a strong finish from outside the box, smartly finding space between the legs of numerous Reds defenders. This marked a happy, yet brief, return from injury for the striker. Tom Bradshaw quickly replied for Barnsley, to bring the scores level. Thankfully, Ojo scored a fortuitous winner when his deep cross evaded everyone (including the Barnsley keeper) and fell into the back of the net.

Lucky result or not, it resulted in the first win of our current 6 game unbeaten streak, and one we’ll be looking to extend on Saturday to keep up momentum in our hunt for a playoff position.

Likely lineup for Barnsley

Throughout the season, Barnsley have tended to field a 4-1-4-1 formation, with wingers and fullbacks combining to give them potent wide options.

Surprisingly, Barnsley changed this to a 5-3-2 last time out against Villa. Yiadom and Cavare pushed up the pitch to provide the width, as a packed midfield attempted to keep the Villains out. However, this plan backfired as they ended up conceding 3, and lost the game. The result reinforced their recent poor form, with the Reds winning just twice in their last 14 games.

Barnsley last time out vs Villa – a change from their normal 4-1-4-1

Where do Barnsley’s attacks come from?

Most common chances created by Barnsley – lost of balls into the box from deep

The above graphic shows the most common places for Barnsley to generate chances. It shows one of the main ways that they create their chances is balls into the box from wide, to their lone front man. You can also see that they tend to create more chances on the left hand side – particularly with balls into the box from deep.

One of their main attacking outlets this season has been the impressive Harvey Barnes. The young Leicester loanee impressed in the first half of the season, scoring 5 goals and creating 4 assists in 18 starts on the left wing. Unfortunately for Barnsley this form earned a recall back to Leicester on the 1st January. With his return, the Reds have lost one of their key wide outlets, perhaps the driver for the recent change in formation.

Man to watch

With Barnes returning to Leicester, there’s one man who is now the clear front-runner in terms of attacking output: the striker Tom Bradshaw. The 25 year old Welshman isn’t your classic lone front man – being neither tall nor hugely physical. However, he is a good poacher, and equally adept at finishing chances with his head or right feet.

Bradshaw’s shots this season (excluding penalties) – sign of a poacher finishing from good positions

A good example of Barnsley’s attack coming together, with their wide players feeding a poacher like Bradshaw, is their equalising goal against us:

Yiadom putting a great ball into the box for Bradshaw to finish

Left back Yiadom capitalises on the time and space he’s given, and delivered an inviting ball into the box. Bradshaw uses his ability to find a yard of space next to Ream, and tucks the header away.

Notes for Slav

The game plan for how to nullify the Barnsley attack will largely depend on the formation that Barnsley decide to field on the day. However, there are a few general points that will apply regardless:

Yiadom is a fullback that is comfortable getting forward, and is happy to launch crosses into the box from deeper positions. Whether Piazon keeps his place on the right wing, or Ojo comes back into the team, the right winger will need high workrate to drop back and support Freddo. Surprisingly, Ojo’s defensive stats slightly outshine Piazon’s (Ojo manages 1.2 tackles per game compared to Piazon’s 0.31), so perhaps Ojo is a better choice to play this role.

Secondly, as much as I rate Kalas, you could make an argument that Odoi should move over to CB to keep tabs on the elusive Bradshaw. However, this would require Targett to move straight into the first team – assuming we want to keep Sessegnon pushed up the pitch; perhaps something we wouldn’t want to risk at a crucial point of the season.

This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.