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Barnsley (a) - Sat 15:00 - What Can We Expect?


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5 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

 

 

Barnsley: [Saturday 17th October 15:00] – What can we expect?

This fixture has a feeling of déjà vu.  Not only have there been four successive 2-2 draws at Oakwell for City, but last season’s encounter also saw Barnsley with a caretaker manager in charge following the sacking of Daniel Stendel.  Roll on to 20/21 and Barnsley are at it again, Gerhard Strüber has gone, and caretaker boss Adam Murray is back in temporary charge for the match.  Last season’s encounter at Oakwell was a feisty affair live on Sky, with City throwing away a 2-0 lead in the last 15 minutes.

Manager:

Adam Murray is now in his second stint as caretaker boss but has yet to take charge of any matches this time around as Strüber’s departure took place after the club had already gone into the international break.  Last season’s spell lasted 5 games, with Murray failing to taste victory (P5 W0 D3 L2 GF8 GA11 PTS3).

 E1DE66D5-882E-4438-B90D-43049B8DEDB6.jpeg.c50602d7c7fb1ffeb7160a513cc65e30.jpeg

Pic 1 - Caretaker boss Adam Murray

Barnsley have had a difficult start to the league season and currently find themselves in 21st position without a win and only a single goal.  Like City they progressed to the 3rd Round of the Carabao Cup with wins over Forest and Middlesbrough, so have at least tasted victory against Championship opponents this term. 

9B5CA388-DB47-4458-8ECC-82F479AE39F7.jpeg.eb4941a09cbc472d613166f3d6714382.jpeg

Pic 2 - Championship table ahead of this weekend's games [BBC Sport]

Recruitment:

Barnsley are still finding it a struggle to compete financially at this level as they’ve not been able to consolidate recent promotions from League One (15/16 or 18/19) with long tenure in the Championship.  Last season’s relegation was saved by Wigan’s 12-point deduction, so maybe the reprieve will see them start to build like City did, who had their own scares in the first two seasons after promotion.  They have looked towards the European market to get good value rather than try to compete in this country. This may have influenced the decisions to appoint Stendel and Strüber, both of whom appeared to have an excellent eye for a player.

Signings:

§  Dominik Frieser - £700k from Linz (Austria)

§  Michal Helik - £700k from Cracovia (Poland)

§  Isaac Christie-Davies – Free from Liverpool

§  Callum Brittain – undisc. From MK Dons

§  Herbie Kane - £1.25m from Liverpool ***Deadline Day***

Departures:

§  Mallik Wilks – undisc. To Hull City

§  Jacob Brown - £2m to Stoke City

§  Marcel Ritzmaier – loan to Rapid Vienna

On top of these departures, Bambo Diaby has been banned for two years for failing a drug test, and Kilian Ludewig, on loan from RB Leipzig has had his loan cancelled so that he can be loaned from his parent club to Schalke 04. Perhaps time for a bit of siege mentality from Murray?

Formation / System:

Despite Barnsley being under temporary management I expect Murray to continue with the 3142-system played by Strüber, as he did the same when taking over from Stendel last season.  

8466060D-0987-4B93-8E43-09BA69039027.thumb.jpeg.6f7e3cc41a0236d1e56f9ed9c6196822.jpeg

Pic 3 - 3412 v Coventry (Barnsley left) [Wyscout]

8AEC8530-565C-45A6-9B9F-92EA4B8C2346.thumb.jpeg.373dd869d396651f5bd562cae2299052.jpeg

Pic 4 – 3412 v Middlesbrough (Barnsley right) [Wyscout]

There is a possibility that he could revert back to a diamond initially used by Strüber, but even so, I fully expect Murray to continue the fast-paced passing style that has evolved under the two previous managers.  They are generally exciting to watch but usually goals at both ends.  

The Barnsley Press:

This has been a key feature since Strüber arrived.  There is high intensity on the ball and a desire to make their opponents go backwards.  We saw similar tactics from Nottingham Forest in the way they condensed one half of the pitch, however Barnsley press with their forwards, whereas Forest’s Grabban just dictates which side of the pitch to press – he doesn’t do much pressing himself.  Last season Brown and Chaplin were key to this, their boundless energy gave opposition defences a tough afternoon.

What I have seen from Barnsley’s press in open play is that it tends to be all or nothing, and not based on specific triggers (Murray disagrees!!), meaning than if the Tykes players aren’t in sync or are poorly positioned, and it can be easily bypassed.  It also appears to be executed by the forwards and midfielders but importantly the back three don’t squeeze the pitch in support, leaving big gaps.  Barnsley distances back to front are probably too large in the main. 

744B157A-C893-4055-8E3A-D66BFB76E741.thumb.jpeg.52fd2af0b0ab8f3c1ca49c1fd90c9d85.jpeg

Pic 5 - Middlesbrough throw-in, Barnsley make the pitch very narrow

Here we can see that at a Middlesbrough throw-in every Barnsley outfield player (yellow) is on that half of the pitch.  It is very narrow and susceptible to a quick switch if good possession can be attained by Boro.

Build-up play:

Barnsley play a high tempo passing game that is full of running.  They will try to play out from the back via the keeper where possible.

B4C84216-61B4-4658-AE42-5BFCC80DC4A2.thumb.jpeg.0aa9775628dce256eb310a15bcd2ede2.jpeg

Pic 6 - Centre-backs provide width to give the keeper passing angles

The left centre-back (Anderson) uses the keeper (Collins) who switches the play to the right centre-back Sollbauer, whilst 3 Boro forwards press the ball.  Mowatt in midfield works hard to give the receiving player an easy short pass option if Sollbauer cannot progress forward

4813966C-0A98-44CA-A7F1-23FDBDF560B7.thumb.jpeg.37a1fd9dc6589fc9ee4962f9b8e19e6f.jpeg

Pic 7 - each centre-back comfortable on the ball

Sollbauer is forced backwards by the left sided Boro player (not in pic), so plays a pass back to Helik, who then finds Anderson.  Only 1 Boro player is now pressing, and Barnsley play out easily.  Again, we see Mowatt working hard to create passing options.

They also look to get numbers high up the pitch in wide areas to create good crossing positions.  This is achieved by either getting their wingbacks forward, willing movement from midfield or in-to-out runs from their forwards.

 AC51C284-DBE1-4039-AD50-9706F0F69B17.thumb.jpeg.413cd8dc784f6e163b2e81371b3e73a4.jpeg

Pic 8 - nice passing from Barnsley creates a crossing opportunity from the left (versus Reading)

The Barnsley wingback (sliding) plays a pass into the feet of the forward who lays a ball into the path of Ritzmaier who has run into a left-wing position. 

2234E742-5437-4D42-AD1C-A38EB097BE4B.thumb.jpeg.3c2aa0c01458b3071917b7fb714477da.jpeg

Pic 9 - Ritzmaier crosses for Frieser

The midfielder crosses to new signing Frieser who heads towards goal but with insufficient power to beat the Reading keeper.  Noticeably, only one Barnsley player has made it into the penalty area.

7DAEC51E-606E-420D-8A67-F45DE9AA0194.thumb.jpeg.81494d1953af1a7690b5e38ae0708dfa.jpeg

Pic 10 - Barnsley slide a pass inside the Coventry wing back

Another example of a proactive run from wide when looking to get down the side of the centre-backs, this time Frieser makes his run on the blindside.  City will need to be careful that they don’t allow too much space between Hunt and Vyner on the right and Mawson and Rowe on the left, when Barnsley have controlled possession in the final 30 yards of the pitch.

Caught in possession:

In each Barnsley game I’ve viewed they have been exposed by losing the ball in poor positions, with the opposition able to counterattack in numbers. 

A1493BCE-1EF3-4D2A-818E-88059C36C575.thumb.jpeg.7933d0559874527a9a21c64f0044b16c.jpeg

Pic 11 - Barnsley (yellow) lose the ball in their own half versus Middlesbrough (red)

In the above example a Barnsley midfielder has his pass intercepted allowing Boro to gain a 4-on-3 situation.  The Boro midfielder (red circle) has 3 passing options or could go alone.  The Barnsley defenders (yellow circles) have a decision to make as to whether to stay with their markers or close down the player with the ball.  There are 5 Barnsley players (orange circles) out of position, scrambling to get back goal side.

AB497EBC-B0E2-47E0-BAAE-EDB588431CB7.thumb.jpeg.70ac39ca139c914e7059a16409a49ff7.jpeg

Pic 12 - Barnsley caught forward again (versus Coventry)

Again, we see Barnsley caught up the pitch, this time by a passing move that beat the press.  Coventry (blue circles) have a 3-on-2 situation with one Barnsley centre back having to move towards the player with the ball leaving his partner to deal with two Coventry forwards.  Four Barnsley players (yellow circles) are caught up-field unable to impact the game.

Set-Pieces:

Attacking – Corners

 E95D7274-9C89-46B0-8D5A-7E2F345321A6.thumb.jpeg.2dd457e076be41149f8f34e9171885a1.jpeg

Pic 13 - far post corner routine (versus Reading)

Barnsley are blessed with a good aerial threat with Anderson, Helik and Sollbauer.  Above we can see all three start very deep with the intention of attacking a deep floated corner to the far post.  With Reading’s markers stood still, the Barnsley players have a run on them.  City will need to be mindful of this and decide whether to man-mark and run the risk of being blocked off or defend zonally (like Reading did). 

39E87A01-B29E-4E76-9231-32CCEB4399AA.thumb.jpeg.dd2d79d272a8b7c6c47469e3aed83da5.jpeg

Pic 14 - the same far post corner from the right wing (versus Coventry)

Barnsley use a very similar routine from the right wing, aiming for a set of runners towards the far post.  Coventry set up with a split zonal / man-marking option, 3 players zonal on the 6-yard line and 3 tracking the 5 Barnsley runners.

The Tykes also have an inswinging routine too.

898BA958-842F-4BF4-98BE-019AEC400E71.thumb.jpeg.be3d772989c1328b1b9f196dd6c6938c.jpeg

Pic 15 - Styles delivers an inswinging corner (versus Coventry)

Styles on the right wing delivers a left footed inswinger, but rather than there being runs towards the near post (like most teams) they pack the 6-yard box, crowding out the keeper.  It does require precise delivery, but very hard to defend if the taker does get it into the right area.

Attacking – free-kicks

A bit more ingenuity here than with their corners!

5D34304A-83AF-4A32-BFAB-535D7F1A78A8.thumb.jpeg.254719a13faa2393e90724f3363a577c.jpeg

Pic 16 - Barnsley work a disguised routine

With the free-kick probably too far out to attempt a shot, Styles lines up to hit the area in behind the Coventry defensive line for the Barnsley “big-men” to attack (green circle).  However, he passes to Thomas (16) who has tried to sneak up on the left.  As he passes the ball, the Coventry wall collapses its position and they drop deep and move towards the ball / Thomas to block a cross / shot.  Thomas switches it back to Styles who strikes it first time, but his shot is blocked.

Defending – free-kicks:

E8E4F970-9F01-4239-9456-5A8E002A4593.thumb.jpeg.d9117bc17ea1057738c8d2412485fed5.jpeg

Pic 17 - Barnsley set a very high line versus Boro!

Having mentioned earlier that in open play Barnsley’s centre-backs are reticent to play a high line I was really surprised to see them set such a high line for a defensive free-kick against Boro.  It leaves a massive space in behind for Boro to make runs into.  Something for City to exploit if it happens on Saturday.  It really is an open invitation to drop a ball between the defensive line and the keeper.

Possible Line-up:

GK: Brad Collins (23) – former Chelsea youngster who joined on a free transfer in July 2019.  Previous loans at Forest Green and Burton who made 22 appearances in his first season at Oakwell.  Started the season behind Jack Walton (22) but got his place back against his former club in a 6-0 defeat as Barnsley exited the cup.

RWB: Callum Brittain (22) – signed during the break from MK Dons for an undisclosed fee could come straight in.  Decent on the ball and quite physical.  Played for England u20s under Keith Downing and had made over 100 appearances for MK.

RCB: Michael Sollbauer (30) – signed by Strüber from in January his old club Wolfsberger where he played over 300 times, the vast majority in the Austrian Bundesliga.  Brings experience to a very young Tykes squad and played a key part in turning around results las season.

CB: Michal Helik (25) – signed on his 25th birthday last month from the Polish topflight side Cracovia.  Polish u21 international who has a good goalscoring record for a defender.

LCB: Mads Andersen (22) – former Danish u19 international who signed last season from AC Horsens for £900k.  At 6’4” he is a threat from set pieces but also very comfortable on the ball.  A player who really improved over the second half of last season with Aapo Halme (22) alongside him. 

LWB: Jordan Williams (20) versatile wingback who started at Huddersfield before a loan at Bury.  Joined the Tykes in August 2018 for an undisclosed fee and has made over 50 appearances.  

CM: Alex Mowatt (25) – seems to have been around forever.  Starting at Leeds he surprisingly left in January 2017 and although had a loan at Oxford, the central midfielder has become a key player for Barnsley. Has a very tidy left foot and definitely has a goal in him.

CM: Callum Styles (20) – started at Burnley before getting snapped up by Bury in the summer of 2016.  Signed by Barnsley before being loaned straight back.  Last season he broke through and his busy performances have certainly caught the eye this season.

AM: Luke Thomas (21) – former Cheltenham academy product who moved to Derby in 2017.  Had a good loan spell at Coventry in 18/19 before signing for Barnsley last season for £1.25m.  Normally a winger he has moved to a central position where his tricky footwork can create openings.

CF: Cauley Woodrow (25) – former Fulham product who represented England at u20 and u21 level.  Having been loaned to Burton where he helped them avoid relegation in 16/17, he signed on loan for City in 17/18.  Unfortunately, he never got a real chance and has shown his Championship quality with Barnsley (initially on loan).  Has scored 36 goals in 78 starts (6 subs).  My DANGERMAN although subject to late transfer window interest from Cardiff!

F35DE3AA-8069-468C-9E80-1D6C3E152058.thumb.jpeg.cd13ca8378e80dcdf8f010599438a26a.jpeg

Pic 18 - Woodrow wheels away after scoring for City

CF: Conor Chaplin (23) – livewire striker who started at Portsmouth before a loan and then permanent move to Coventry.  Signed for Barnsley last summer and scored 13 goals in all competitions.  Works hard defensively too. 

Other Players of note:

CF/W: Dominik Frieser (27) – another ex-Strüber player at Wolfsberger but signed from Linz in August for £700k.  Has featured in each game (4 starts 3 subs) whilst settling in.

CF: Patrick Schmidt (22) – another Austrian but signed by German Daniel Stendel last summer from Admira Wacker for £1m.  Started just 2 Championship matches last season but subbed on 27 times.

CM: Herbie Kane (21) – signed on deadline day from Liverpool for £1.25m.  Well known to City fans as Bristol-born and at pinched from our Academy aged 15.  Previous loan spells at Doncaster in 2018/19 where he did really well and Hull City last season where injury curtailed a promising start.

How do we win?

Over and above the areas covered earlier I’ve identified two main areas that I think if City get right will play a big part in them returning from Oakwell with the three points.

1.     Ball Winning Midfielders

I’ve already mentioned how other teams have exposed Barnsley by pinching the ball high up the pitch with the Tykes a bit too keen to get players forward. 

F7DEC029-1522-4B7C-913A-1D3CF1E2ED42.jpeg.d6c40a506a5d59aec5ab0f5093c5f19c.jpeg

Pic 19 - Bakinson pinching the ball in dangerous areas (versus Sheffield Wed)

77125B4C-AE03-4CE6-B98C-003D44998E95.jpeg.1d6191b141aff888ef085ebbd22673ff.jpeg

Pic 20 - Weimann recovering the ball in dangerous areas (versus Forest)

With Andreas Weimann buzzing around Alex Mowatt and Callum Styles and Tyreeq Bakinson imposing himself on Luke Thomas, City can win a lot of possession high up the pitch.  If City can quickly get Jamie Paterson on the ball after winning it or feed our wing backs, then we can really hurt Barnsley. 

2.     Maintain our distances back to front

With Barnsley’s centre-backs happy to remain deep it is key that City don’t fall into the same trap and allow the play to become spread-out.  That will even out the game and Barnsley’s technical build-up will have to room to pass and move.  

So far this season City have been pretty good at keeping the distance between our defence and attack relatively small, and in many respects, this is because Bakinson is very good at making sure he doesn’t play too deep.  In recent seasons a criticism of mine has been that our defensive midfielder(s) have played too deep, coming too short in build-up or too deep when defending.  This has often resulted in a big gap to the forward line where hopeful direct balls to Diedhiou have left our midfielders watching the ball fly over their head and they are then too far away to retrieve loose balls.

84A197D1-E5CF-40F9-AC97-07E492BAA07B.thumb.jpeg.5069d32fd86c3d498219febb665eb0e7.jpeg

Pic 21 - City keep small distances front to back (versus Sheffield Wednesday)

577EB315-509C-4CC3-BE2B-C265513F2B87.thumb.jpeg.493d52bd6250d4bae089a4fd1a958291.jpeg

Pic 22 - a slightly bigger distance versus Forest, somewhat reflecting how we were pegged back second half

We can see from City’s average positions above that we were more compact versus Sheffield Wednesday where we totally controlled the second half.  Against Forest those distances were bigger (still not large though) and we saw a much more open second half.  Some of that was down to Forest chasing the game.

In both pictures we see Tyreeq Bakinson ensuring he doesn’t play too deep (red centre arrow).  Couple that with his ability to pass forwards (sounds of Downing and Simpson’s “eyes forward” ringing out!) and it gets City on the front foot and really gets the best out of Paterson and Weimann’s attacking qualities and instincts.  

In matches where a City midfield player has played more than 15 minutes, Bakinson passes the ball forwards 40% of the time, compared to Kasey Palmer (35%), Weimann (29%), Paterson (28%), Nagy (24%), Brunt (24%) and Massengo (11%).  Bakinson is consistent too, even his worst game (38%) is still better than any of the above’s best – Paterson (37%).  He really has made his mark in City’s midfield.  Long may this continue.

Prediction:

I see City continuing their 100% start, taking advantage of a Barnsley side that give up possession in their own half.  I do expect a fairly open game though, so goals aplenty

Barnsley 1:3 Bristol City

 

Behave FFS !!!

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@Davefevs Lovely old job. 

My thoughts - are we expecting an unchanged XI tomorrow? I suspect we might as I don't think Dasilva is ready to come back in for Rowe, nor Kalas quite ready to start in the back 3. I can't see Holden changing any of the rest.

That being said I'm going to watch and hope that we keep Wells forward, looking to sit on the shoulder and exploit the transition in possession if/when we can win it back high up in midfield. Martin can continue his great hold up and link play, and Paterson, Weimann and Bakinson can be the disruptors and runners - hopefully all combining to create the space for Wells to finish.

Secondly, slightly different point maybe, but just looking at those average positional pictures - is it really fair to call our formation a 352? Is it not more a 3412, possibly even a 343 in reality? In both pictures Pato is very advanced, up level with Wells and Martin/Fam rather than back with Weimann and Bakinson. A very minor and pedantic point that probably does more to highlight the slightly odd fan obsession with labelling a formation, but would be interested in your thoughts on that.

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3 minutes ago, ExiledAjax said:

@Davefevs Lovely old job.

ta.

My thoughts - are we expecting an unchanged XI tomorrow? I suspect we might as I don't think Dasilva is ready to come back in for Rowe, nor Kalas quite ready to start in the back 3. I can't see Holden changing any of the rest.

I don’t know.  I was throwing around all kinds of options in my head last night, e.g. if Kalas is fit would he be better playing tomorrow rather than a more physical Boro side on Tuesday, etc, etc.  But felt like a lot of over-thinking from me.  Hope Dean plays the best team he thinks tomorrow, and worries about Tuesday at 17;00 tomorrow.

That being said I'm going to watch and hope that we keep Wells forward, looking to sit on the shoulder and exploit the transition in possession if/when we can win it back high up in midfield. Martin can continue his great hold up and link play, and Paterson, Weimann and Bakinson can be the disruptors and runners - hopefully all combining to create the space for Wells to finish.

I’d like to see Wells get on the scoresheet again.  His two goals have been really tough chances, but I do sense his team-play improving game by game.

Secondly, slightly different point maybe, but just looking at those average positional pictures - is it really fair to call our formation a 352? Is it not more a 3412, possibly even a 343 in reality? In both pictures Pato is very advanced, up level with Wells and Martin/Fam rather than back with Weimann and Bakinson. A very minor and pedantic point that probably does more to highlight the slightly odd fan obsession with labelling a formation, but would be interested in your thoughts on that.

You know me, I’m not “into” formations per se.  I would normally call it 532, but on 20man, Dean picked him up on calling it 532, and said that makes it sound defensive.  So I’ve adjusted my data to say 352.  I don’t care that much whether it’s 3412 / 3322....Pato starts to the right side of centre (Bakinson currently) and Weimann to the left.

The downside of my pictures are that they are average passing positions, rather than where they  spend all their time.  If I added all “actions” to them, you’d see a different picture.  In Pato’s case 5 of his 6 defensive actions were in “our” half.

Here is the “raw” view of everything Pato did v Forestimage.thumb.jpg.839ccbaff5c2ff21e8f8338332fd8ad6.jpg

Here’s Weimann’s

image.thumb.jpg.9cb672e135abde738802e1de8123f11b.jpg

 

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3 hours ago, Davefevs said:

 

 

Barnsley: [Saturday 17th October 15:00] – What can we expect?

This fixture has a feeling of déjà vu.  Not only have there been four successive 2-2 draws at Oakwell for City, but last season’s encounter also saw Barnsley with a caretaker manager in charge following the sacking of Daniel Stendel.  Roll on to 20/21 and Barnsley are at it again, Gerhard Strüber has gone, and caretaker boss Adam Murray is back in temporary charge for the match.  Last season’s encounter at Oakwell was a feisty affair live on Sky, with City throwing away a 2-0 lead in the last 15 minutes.

Manager:

Adam Murray is now in his second stint as caretaker boss but has yet to take charge of any matches this time around as Strüber’s departure took place after the club had already gone into the international break.  Last season’s spell lasted 5 games, with Murray failing to taste victory (P5 W0 D3 L2 GF8 GA11 PTS3).

 E1DE66D5-882E-4438-B90D-43049B8DEDB6.jpeg.c50602d7c7fb1ffeb7160a513cc65e30.jpeg

Pic 1 - Caretaker boss Adam Murray

Barnsley have had a difficult start to the league season and currently find themselves in 21st position without a win and only a single goal.  Like City they progressed to the 3rd Round of the Carabao Cup with wins over Forest and Middlesbrough, so have at least tasted victory against Championship opponents this term. 

9B5CA388-DB47-4458-8ECC-82F479AE39F7.jpeg.eb4941a09cbc472d613166f3d6714382.jpeg

Pic 2 - Championship table ahead of this weekend's games [BBC Sport]

Recruitment:

Barnsley are still finding it a struggle to compete financially at this level as they’ve not been able to consolidate recent promotions from League One (15/16 or 18/19) with long tenure in the Championship.  Last season’s relegation was saved by Wigan’s 12-point deduction, so maybe the reprieve will see them start to build like City did, who had their own scares in the first two seasons after promotion.  They have looked towards the European market to get good value rather than try to compete in this country. This may have influenced the decisions to appoint Stendel and Strüber, both of whom appeared to have an excellent eye for a player.

Signings:

§  Dominik Frieser - £700k from Linz (Austria)

§  Michal Helik - £700k from Cracovia (Poland)

§  Isaac Christie-Davies – Free from Liverpool

§  Callum Brittain – undisc. From MK Dons

§  Herbie Kane - £1.25m from Liverpool ***Deadline Day***

Departures:

§  Mallik Wilks – undisc. To Hull City

§  Jacob Brown - £2m to Stoke City

§  Marcel Ritzmaier – loan to Rapid Vienna

On top of these departures, Bambo Diaby has been banned for two years for failing a drug test, and Kilian Ludewig, on loan from RB Leipzig has had his loan cancelled so that he can be loaned from his parent club to Schalke 04. Perhaps time for a bit of siege mentality from Murray?

Formation / System:

Despite Barnsley being under temporary management I expect Murray to continue with the 3142-system played by Strüber, as he did the same when taking over from Stendel last season.  

8466060D-0987-4B93-8E43-09BA69039027.thumb.jpeg.6f7e3cc41a0236d1e56f9ed9c6196822.jpeg

Pic 3 - 3412 v Coventry (Barnsley left) [Wyscout]

8AEC8530-565C-45A6-9B9F-92EA4B8C2346.thumb.jpeg.373dd869d396651f5bd562cae2299052.jpeg

Pic 4 – 3412 v Middlesbrough (Barnsley right) [Wyscout]

There is a possibility that he could revert back to a diamond initially used by Strüber, but even so, I fully expect Murray to continue the fast-paced passing style that has evolved under the two previous managers.  They are generally exciting to watch but usually goals at both ends.  

The Barnsley Press:

This has been a key feature since Strüber arrived.  There is high intensity on the ball and a desire to make their opponents go backwards.  We saw similar tactics from Nottingham Forest in the way they condensed one half of the pitch, however Barnsley press with their forwards, whereas Forest’s Grabban just dictates which side of the pitch to press – he doesn’t do much pressing himself.  Last season Brown and Chaplin were key to this, their boundless energy gave opposition defences a tough afternoon.

What I have seen from Barnsley’s press in open play is that it tends to be all or nothing, and not based on specific triggers (Murray disagrees!!), meaning than if the Tykes players aren’t in sync or are poorly positioned, and it can be easily bypassed.  It also appears to be executed by the forwards and midfielders but importantly the back three don’t squeeze the pitch in support, leaving big gaps.  Barnsley distances back to front are probably too large in the main. 

744B157A-C893-4055-8E3A-D66BFB76E741.thumb.jpeg.52fd2af0b0ab8f3c1ca49c1fd90c9d85.jpeg

Pic 5 - Middlesbrough throw-in, Barnsley make the pitch very narrow

Here we can see that at a Middlesbrough throw-in every Barnsley outfield player (yellow) is on that half of the pitch.  It is very narrow and susceptible to a quick switch if good possession can be attained by Boro.

Build-up play:

Barnsley play a high tempo passing game that is full of running.  They will try to play out from the back via the keeper where possible.

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Pic 6 - Centre-backs provide width to give the keeper passing angles

The left centre-back (Anderson) uses the keeper (Collins) who switches the play to the right centre-back Sollbauer, whilst 3 Boro forwards press the ball.  Mowatt in midfield works hard to give the receiving player an easy short pass option if Sollbauer cannot progress forward

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Pic 7 - each centre-back comfortable on the ball

Sollbauer is forced backwards by the left sided Boro player (not in pic), so plays a pass back to Helik, who then finds Anderson.  Only 1 Boro player is now pressing, and Barnsley play out easily.  Again, we see Mowatt working hard to create passing options.

They also look to get numbers high up the pitch in wide areas to create good crossing positions.  This is achieved by either getting their wingbacks forward, willing movement from midfield or in-to-out runs from their forwards.

 AC51C284-DBE1-4039-AD50-9706F0F69B17.thumb.jpeg.413cd8dc784f6e163b2e81371b3e73a4.jpeg

Pic 8 - nice passing from Barnsley creates a crossing opportunity from the left (versus Reading)

The Barnsley wingback (sliding) plays a pass into the feet of the forward who lays a ball into the path of Ritzmaier who has run into a left-wing position. 

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Pic 9 - Ritzmaier crosses for Frieser

The midfielder crosses to new signing Frieser who heads towards goal but with insufficient power to beat the Reading keeper.  Noticeably, only one Barnsley player has made it into the penalty area.

7DAEC51E-606E-420D-8A67-F45DE9AA0194.thumb.jpeg.81494d1953af1a7690b5e38ae0708dfa.jpeg

Pic 10 - Barnsley slide a pass inside the Coventry wing back

Another example of a proactive run from wide when looking to get down the side of the centre-backs, this time Frieser makes his run on the blindside.  City will need to be careful that they don’t allow too much space between Hunt and Vyner on the right and Mawson and Rowe on the left, when Barnsley have controlled possession in the final 30 yards of the pitch.

Caught in possession:

In each Barnsley game I’ve viewed they have been exposed by losing the ball in poor positions, with the opposition able to counterattack in numbers. 

A1493BCE-1EF3-4D2A-818E-88059C36C575.thumb.jpeg.7933d0559874527a9a21c64f0044b16c.jpeg

Pic 11 - Barnsley (yellow) lose the ball in their own half versus Middlesbrough (red)

In the above example a Barnsley midfielder has his pass intercepted allowing Boro to gain a 4-on-3 situation.  The Boro midfielder (red circle) has 3 passing options or could go alone.  The Barnsley defenders (yellow circles) have a decision to make as to whether to stay with their markers or close down the player with the ball.  There are 5 Barnsley players (orange circles) out of position, scrambling to get back goal side.

AB497EBC-B0E2-47E0-BAAE-EDB588431CB7.thumb.jpeg.70ac39ca139c914e7059a16409a49ff7.jpeg

Pic 12 - Barnsley caught forward again (versus Coventry)

Again, we see Barnsley caught up the pitch, this time by a passing move that beat the press.  Coventry (blue circles) have a 3-on-2 situation with one Barnsley centre back having to move towards the player with the ball leaving his partner to deal with two Coventry forwards.  Four Barnsley players (yellow circles) are caught up-field unable to impact the game.

Set-Pieces:

Attacking – Corners

 E95D7274-9C89-46B0-8D5A-7E2F345321A6.thumb.jpeg.2dd457e076be41149f8f34e9171885a1.jpeg

Pic 13 - far post corner routine (versus Reading)

Barnsley are blessed with a good aerial threat with Anderson, Helik and Sollbauer.  Above we can see all three start very deep with the intention of attacking a deep floated corner to the far post.  With Reading’s markers stood still, the Barnsley players have a run on them.  City will need to be mindful of this and decide whether to man-mark and run the risk of being blocked off or defend zonally (like Reading did). 

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Pic 14 - the same far post corner from the right wing (versus Coventry)

Barnsley use a very similar routine from the right wing, aiming for a set of runners towards the far post.  Coventry set up with a split zonal / man-marking option, 3 players zonal on the 6-yard line and 3 tracking the 5 Barnsley runners.

The Tykes also have an inswinging routine too.

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Pic 15 - Styles delivers an inswinging corner (versus Coventry)

Styles on the right wing delivers a left footed inswinger, but rather than there being runs towards the near post (like most teams) they pack the 6-yard box, crowding out the keeper.  It does require precise delivery, but very hard to defend if the taker does get it into the right area.

Attacking – free-kicks

A bit more ingenuity here than with their corners!

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Pic 16 - Barnsley work a disguised routine

With the free-kick probably too far out to attempt a shot, Styles lines up to hit the area in behind the Coventry defensive line for the Barnsley “big-men” to attack (green circle).  However, he passes to Thomas (16) who has tried to sneak up on the left.  As he passes the ball, the Coventry wall collapses its position and they drop deep and move towards the ball / Thomas to block a cross / shot.  Thomas switches it back to Styles who strikes it first time, but his shot is blocked.

Defending – free-kicks:

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Pic 17 - Barnsley set a very high line versus Boro!

Having mentioned earlier that in open play Barnsley’s centre-backs are reticent to play a high line I was really surprised to see them set such a high line for a defensive free-kick against Boro.  It leaves a massive space in behind for Boro to make runs into.  Something for City to exploit if it happens on Saturday.  It really is an open invitation to drop a ball between the defensive line and the keeper.

Possible Line-up:

GK: Brad Collins (23) – former Chelsea youngster who joined on a free transfer in July 2019.  Previous loans at Forest Green and Burton who made 22 appearances in his first season at Oakwell.  Started the season behind Jack Walton (22) but got his place back against his former club in a 6-0 defeat as Barnsley exited the cup.

RWB: Callum Brittain (22) – signed during the break from MK Dons for an undisclosed fee could come straight in.  Decent on the ball and quite physical.  Played for England u20s under Keith Downing and had made over 100 appearances for MK.

RCB: Michael Sollbauer (30) – signed by Strüber from in January his old club Wolfsberger where he played over 300 times, the vast majority in the Austrian Bundesliga.  Brings experience to a very young Tykes squad and played a key part in turning around results las season.

CB: Michal Helik (25) – signed on his 25th birthday last month from the Polish topflight side Cracovia.  Polish u21 international who has a good goalscoring record for a defender.

LCB: Mads Andersen (22) – former Danish u19 international who signed last season from AC Horsens for £900k.  At 6’4” he is a threat from set pieces but also very comfortable on the ball.  A player who really improved over the second half of last season with Aapo Halme (22) alongside him. 

LWB: Jordan Williams (20) versatile wingback who started at Huddersfield before a loan at Bury.  Joined the Tykes in August 2018 for an undisclosed fee and has made over 50 appearances.  

CM: Alex Mowatt (25) – seems to have been around forever.  Starting at Leeds he surprisingly left in January 2017 and although had a loan at Oxford, the central midfielder has become a key player for Barnsley. Has a very tidy left foot and definitely has a goal in him.

CM: Callum Styles (20) – started at Burnley before getting snapped up by Bury in the summer of 2016.  Signed by Barnsley before being loaned straight back.  Last season he broke through and his busy performances have certainly caught the eye this season.

AM: Luke Thomas (21) – former Cheltenham academy product who moved to Derby in 2017.  Had a good loan spell at Coventry in 18/19 before signing for Barnsley last season for £1.25m.  Normally a winger he has moved to a central position where his tricky footwork can create openings.

CF: Cauley Woodrow (25) – former Fulham product who represented England at u20 and u21 level.  Having been loaned to Burton where he helped them avoid relegation in 16/17, he signed on loan for City in 17/18.  Unfortunately, he never got a real chance and has shown his Championship quality with Barnsley (initially on loan).  Has scored 36 goals in 78 starts (6 subs).  My DANGERMAN although subject to late transfer window interest from Cardiff!

F35DE3AA-8069-468C-9E80-1D6C3E152058.thumb.jpeg.cd13ca8378e80dcdf8f010599438a26a.jpeg

Pic 18 - Woodrow wheels away after scoring for City

CF: Conor Chaplin (23) – livewire striker who started at Portsmouth before a loan and then permanent move to Coventry.  Signed for Barnsley last summer and scored 13 goals in all competitions.  Works hard defensively too. 

Other Players of note:

CF/W: Dominik Frieser (27) – another ex-Strüber player at Wolfsberger but signed from Linz in August for £700k.  Has featured in each game (4 starts 3 subs) whilst settling in.

CF: Patrick Schmidt (22) – another Austrian but signed by German Daniel Stendel last summer from Admira Wacker for £1m.  Started just 2 Championship matches last season but subbed on 27 times.

CM: Herbie Kane (21) – signed on deadline day from Liverpool for £1.25m.  Well known to City fans as Bristol-born and at pinched from our Academy aged 15.  Previous loan spells at Doncaster in 2018/19 where he did really well and Hull City last season where injury curtailed a promising start.

How do we win?

Over and above the areas covered earlier I’ve identified two main areas that I think if City get right will play a big part in them returning from Oakwell with the three points.

1.     Ball Winning Midfielders

I’ve already mentioned how other teams have exposed Barnsley by pinching the ball high up the pitch with the Tykes a bit too keen to get players forward. 

F7DEC029-1522-4B7C-913A-1D3CF1E2ED42.jpeg.d6c40a506a5d59aec5ab0f5093c5f19c.jpeg

Pic 19 - Bakinson pinching the ball in dangerous areas (versus Sheffield Wed)

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Pic 20 - Weimann recovering the ball in dangerous areas (versus Forest)

With Andreas Weimann buzzing around Alex Mowatt and Callum Styles and Tyreeq Bakinson imposing himself on Luke Thomas, City can win a lot of possession high up the pitch.  If City can quickly get Jamie Paterson on the ball after winning it or feed our wing backs, then we can really hurt Barnsley. 

2.     Maintain our distances back to front

With Barnsley’s centre-backs happy to remain deep it is key that City don’t fall into the same trap and allow the play to become spread-out.  That will even out the game and Barnsley’s technical build-up will have to room to pass and move.  

So far this season City have been pretty good at keeping the distance between our defence and attack relatively small, and in many respects, this is because Bakinson is very good at making sure he doesn’t play too deep.  In recent seasons a criticism of mine has been that our defensive midfielder(s) have played too deep, coming too short in build-up or too deep when defending.  This has often resulted in a big gap to the forward line where hopeful direct balls to Diedhiou have left our midfielders watching the ball fly over their head and they are then too far away to retrieve loose balls.

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Pic 21 - City keep small distances front to back (versus Sheffield Wednesday)

577EB315-509C-4CC3-BE2B-C265513F2B87.thumb.jpeg.493d52bd6250d4bae089a4fd1a958291.jpeg

Pic 22 - a slightly bigger distance versus Forest, somewhat reflecting how we were pegged back second half

We can see from City’s average positions above that we were more compact versus Sheffield Wednesday where we totally controlled the second half.  Against Forest those distances were bigger (still not large though) and we saw a much more open second half.  Some of that was down to Forest chasing the game.

In both pictures we see Tyreeq Bakinson ensuring he doesn’t play too deep (red centre arrow).  Couple that with his ability to pass forwards (sounds of Downing and Simpson’s “eyes forward” ringing out!) and it gets City on the front foot and really gets the best out of Paterson and Weimann’s attacking qualities and instincts.  

In matches where a City midfield player has played more than 15 minutes, Bakinson passes the ball forwards 40% of the time, compared to Kasey Palmer (35%), Weimann (29%), Paterson (28%), Nagy (24%), Brunt (24%) and Massengo (11%).  Bakinson is consistent too, even his worst game (38%) is still better than any of the above’s best – Paterson (37%).  He really has made his mark in City’s midfield.  Long may this continue.

Prediction:

I see City continuing their 100% start, taking advantage of a Barnsley side that give up possession in their own half.  I do expect a fairly open game though, so goals aplenty

Barnsley 1:3 Bristol City

 

Ave It . 

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2 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

The downside of my pictures are that they are average passing positions, rather than where they  spend all their time.  If I added all “actions” to them, you’d see a different picture.  In Pato’s case 5 of his 6 defensive actions were in “our” half.

 

Yes, the downside of all positional data (same as how possession % is generally calculated as a % of completed passes rather than actual time in possession). I guess to get a true average position you'd need the tracking data that presumably only the club themselves really have access to. Interesting to hear what Holden said on 20man. I don't get 20man out here so that's helpful.

On formations generally - I think they're more useful when talking about how a team plays without the ball than with. Generally my layman's understanding is that they are geared to controlling space and trying to force opponents to attack areas of the pitch you feel comfortable defending. In attack you can be more fluid as you need to be able to take advantage of any opportunity that arises. That also explains football's recent obsession over transitions, and over how quickly a team can switch between that fluid attack and the more rigid defensive formation.

Should be a good game tomorrow. I agree with you there should be a decent number of goals...personally leaning towards a score draw rather than an outright City win though. Probably just some natural pessimism that we cannot win them all.

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28 minutes ago, ExiledAjax said:

Yes, the downside of all positional data (same as how possession % is generally calculated as a % of completed passes rather than actual time in possession). I guess to get a true average position you'd need the tracking data that presumably only the club themselves really have access to. Interesting to hear what Holden said on 20man. I don't get 20man out here so that's helpful.

have you tried the BBC sounds app....get it on catchup???

the joys of data!!  The proper data analysts are now mapping positional data of each player, direction they’re facing etc, etc.  I was chuffed to just be able to create what I can (thanks to @IAmNick👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻)

On formations generally - I think they're more useful when talking about how a team plays without the ball than with. Generally my layman's understanding is that they are geared to controlling space and trying to force opponents to attack areas of the pitch you feel comfortable defending. In attack you can be more fluid as you need to be able to take advantage of any opportunity that arises. That also explains football's recent obsession over transitions, and over how quickly a team can switch between that fluid attack and the more rigid defensive formation.

👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Should be a good game tomorrow. I agree with you there should be a decent number of goals...personally leaning towards a score draw rather than an outright City win though. Probably just some natural pessimism that we cannot win them all.

I’m keen to drop the prediction section at the end.  I hate doing it, and normally I am pessimistic too, especially away from home.

 

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3 minutes ago, Chivs said:

TL;DR

But when I saw "My DANGERMAN ..." concerning Woodrow, I know we should be fairly confident*. 🤣

*I'm never fairly confident.

You know my history with Woodrow....I couldn’t pick anyone else.

Slightly worrying is that several people laughed at me picking Freeman as my danger man for Forest and he smashed in a 25 yarder.

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Now surely Barnsley will press Bakinson, they must have noticed when Izzy Brown was about him he had his worst spell of the season, and it totally fits their style to do so. IF Kalas is fit maybe Vyner starts over Moore because of the set piece threat?

I don't get Connor Chaplin, every time I watch him he's wasteful. He gets in such good positions over and over and wastes them so often! Weird player for me. If he had ANY level of consistency I think I'd really like him, but he just frustrates me.

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9 minutes ago, Prinny said:

Now surely Barnsley will press Bakinson, they must have noticed when Izzy Brown was about him he had his worst spell of the season, and it totally fits their style to do so. IF Kalas is fit maybe Vyner starts over Moore because of the set piece threat?

I don't get Connor Chaplin, every time I watch him he's wasteful. He gets in such good positions over and over and wastes them so often! Weird player for me. If he had ANY level of consistency I think I'd really like him, but he just frustrates me.

Chaplin is quick, oodles of energy, but he isn’t cool in those key moments.  Great when him and Brown worked their socks off to close down defenders, but I think last season’s preview was “neither get in the box enough”.  Hope it’s not famous last words!

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11 hours ago, Davefevs said:

 

 

Barnsley: [Saturday 17th October 15:00] – What can we expect?

This fixture has a feeling of déjà vu.  Not only have there been four successive 2-2 draws at Oakwell for City, but last season’s encounter also saw Barnsley with a caretaker manager in charge following the sacking of Daniel Stendel.  Roll on to 20/21 and Barnsley are at it again, Gerhard Strüber has gone, and caretaker boss Adam Murray is back in temporary charge for the match.  Last season’s encounter at Oakwell was a feisty affair live on Sky, with City throwing away a 2-0 lead in the last 15 minutes.

Manager:

Adam Murray is now in his second stint as caretaker boss but has yet to take charge of any matches this time around as Strüber’s departure took place after the club had already gone into the international break.  Last season’s spell lasted 5 games, with Murray failing to taste victory (P5 W0 D3 L2 GF8 GA11 PTS3).

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Pic 1 - Caretaker boss Adam Murray

Barnsley have had a difficult start to the league season and currently find themselves in 21st position without a win and only a single goal.  Like City they progressed to the 3rd Round of the Carabao Cup with wins over Forest and Middlesbrough, so have at least tasted victory against Championship opponents this term. 

9B5CA388-DB47-4458-8ECC-82F479AE39F7.jpeg.eb4941a09cbc472d613166f3d6714382.jpeg

Pic 2 - Championship table ahead of this weekend's games [BBC Sport]

Recruitment:

Barnsley are still finding it a struggle to compete financially at this level as they’ve not been able to consolidate recent promotions from League One (15/16 or 18/19) with long tenure in the Championship.  Last season’s relegation was saved by Wigan’s 12-point deduction, so maybe the reprieve will see them start to build like City did, who had their own scares in the first two seasons after promotion.  They have looked towards the European market to get good value rather than try to compete in this country. This may have influenced the decisions to appoint Stendel and Strüber, both of whom appeared to have an excellent eye for a player.

Signings:

§  Dominik Frieser - £700k from Linz (Austria)

§  Michal Helik - £700k from Cracovia (Poland)

§  Isaac Christie-Davies – Free from Liverpool

§  Callum Brittain – undisc. From MK Dons

§  Herbie Kane - £1.25m from Liverpool ***Deadline Day***

Departures:

§  Mallik Wilks – undisc. To Hull City

§  Jacob Brown - £2m to Stoke City

§  Marcel Ritzmaier – loan to Rapid Vienna

On top of these departures, Bambo Diaby has been banned for two years for failing a drug test, and Kilian Ludewig, on loan from RB Leipzig has had his loan cancelled so that he can be loaned from his parent club to Schalke 04. Perhaps time for a bit of siege mentality from Murray?

Formation / System:

Despite Barnsley being under temporary management I expect Murray to continue with the 3142-system played by Strüber, as he did the same when taking over from Stendel last season.  

8466060D-0987-4B93-8E43-09BA69039027.thumb.jpeg.6f7e3cc41a0236d1e56f9ed9c6196822.jpeg

Pic 3 - 3412 v Coventry (Barnsley left) [Wyscout]

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Pic 4 – 3412 v Middlesbrough (Barnsley right) [Wyscout]

There is a possibility that he could revert back to a diamond initially used by Strüber, but even so, I fully expect Murray to continue the fast-paced passing style that has evolved under the two previous managers.  They are generally exciting to watch but usually goals at both ends.  

The Barnsley Press:

This has been a key feature since Strüber arrived.  There is high intensity on the ball and a desire to make their opponents go backwards.  We saw similar tactics from Nottingham Forest in the way they condensed one half of the pitch, however Barnsley press with their forwards, whereas Forest’s Grabban just dictates which side of the pitch to press – he doesn’t do much pressing himself.  Last season Brown and Chaplin were key to this, their boundless energy gave opposition defences a tough afternoon.

What I have seen from Barnsley’s press in open play is that it tends to be all or nothing, and not based on specific triggers (Murray disagrees!!), meaning than if the Tykes players aren’t in sync or are poorly positioned, and it can be easily bypassed.  It also appears to be executed by the forwards and midfielders but importantly the back three don’t squeeze the pitch in support, leaving big gaps.  Barnsley distances back to front are probably too large in the main. 

744B157A-C893-4055-8E3A-D66BFB76E741.thumb.jpeg.52fd2af0b0ab8f3c1ca49c1fd90c9d85.jpeg

Pic 5 - Middlesbrough throw-in, Barnsley make the pitch very narrow

Here we can see that at a Middlesbrough throw-in every Barnsley outfield player (yellow) is on that half of the pitch.  It is very narrow and susceptible to a quick switch if good possession can be attained by Boro.

Build-up play:

Barnsley play a high tempo passing game that is full of running.  They will try to play out from the back via the keeper where possible.

B4C84216-61B4-4658-AE42-5BFCC80DC4A2.thumb.jpeg.0aa9775628dce256eb310a15bcd2ede2.jpeg

Pic 6 - Centre-backs provide width to give the keeper passing angles

The left centre-back (Anderson) uses the keeper (Collins) who switches the play to the right centre-back Sollbauer, whilst 3 Boro forwards press the ball.  Mowatt in midfield works hard to give the receiving player an easy short pass option if Sollbauer cannot progress forward

4813966C-0A98-44CA-A7F1-23FDBDF560B7.thumb.jpeg.37a1fd9dc6589fc9ee4962f9b8e19e6f.jpeg

Pic 7 - each centre-back comfortable on the ball

Sollbauer is forced backwards by the left sided Boro player (not in pic), so plays a pass back to Helik, who then finds Anderson.  Only 1 Boro player is now pressing, and Barnsley play out easily.  Again, we see Mowatt working hard to create passing options.

They also look to get numbers high up the pitch in wide areas to create good crossing positions.  This is achieved by either getting their wingbacks forward, willing movement from midfield or in-to-out runs from their forwards.

 AC51C284-DBE1-4039-AD50-9706F0F69B17.thumb.jpeg.413cd8dc784f6e163b2e81371b3e73a4.jpeg

Pic 8 - nice passing from Barnsley creates a crossing opportunity from the left (versus Reading)

The Barnsley wingback (sliding) plays a pass into the feet of the forward who lays a ball into the path of Ritzmaier who has run into a left-wing position. 

2234E742-5437-4D42-AD1C-A38EB097BE4B.thumb.jpeg.3c2aa0c01458b3071917b7fb714477da.jpeg

Pic 9 - Ritzmaier crosses for Frieser

The midfielder crosses to new signing Frieser who heads towards goal but with insufficient power to beat the Reading keeper.  Noticeably, only one Barnsley player has made it into the penalty area.

7DAEC51E-606E-420D-8A67-F45DE9AA0194.thumb.jpeg.81494d1953af1a7690b5e38ae0708dfa.jpeg

Pic 10 - Barnsley slide a pass inside the Coventry wing back

Another example of a proactive run from wide when looking to get down the side of the centre-backs, this time Frieser makes his run on the blindside.  City will need to be careful that they don’t allow too much space between Hunt and Vyner on the right and Mawson and Rowe on the left, when Barnsley have controlled possession in the final 30 yards of the pitch.

Caught in possession:

In each Barnsley game I’ve viewed they have been exposed by losing the ball in poor positions, with the opposition able to counterattack in numbers. 

A1493BCE-1EF3-4D2A-818E-88059C36C575.thumb.jpeg.7933d0559874527a9a21c64f0044b16c.jpeg

Pic 11 - Barnsley (yellow) lose the ball in their own half versus Middlesbrough (red)

In the above example a Barnsley midfielder has his pass intercepted allowing Boro to gain a 4-on-3 situation.  The Boro midfielder (red circle) has 3 passing options or could go alone.  The Barnsley defenders (yellow circles) have a decision to make as to whether to stay with their markers or close down the player with the ball.  There are 5 Barnsley players (orange circles) out of position, scrambling to get back goal side.

AB497EBC-B0E2-47E0-BAAE-EDB588431CB7.thumb.jpeg.70ac39ca139c914e7059a16409a49ff7.jpeg

Pic 12 - Barnsley caught forward again (versus Coventry)

Again, we see Barnsley caught up the pitch, this time by a passing move that beat the press.  Coventry (blue circles) have a 3-on-2 situation with one Barnsley centre back having to move towards the player with the ball leaving his partner to deal with two Coventry forwards.  Four Barnsley players (yellow circles) are caught up-field unable to impact the game.

Set-Pieces:

Attacking – Corners

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Pic 13 - far post corner routine (versus Reading)

Barnsley are blessed with a good aerial threat with Anderson, Helik and Sollbauer.  Above we can see all three start very deep with the intention of attacking a deep floated corner to the far post.  With Reading’s markers stood still, the Barnsley players have a run on them.  City will need to be mindful of this and decide whether to man-mark and run the risk of being blocked off or defend zonally (like Reading did). 

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Pic 14 - the same far post corner from the right wing (versus Coventry)

Barnsley use a very similar routine from the right wing, aiming for a set of runners towards the far post.  Coventry set up with a split zonal / man-marking option, 3 players zonal on the 6-yard line and 3 tracking the 5 Barnsley runners.

The Tykes also have an inswinging routine too.

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Pic 15 - Styles delivers an inswinging corner (versus Coventry)

Styles on the right wing delivers a left footed inswinger, but rather than there being runs towards the near post (like most teams) they pack the 6-yard box, crowding out the keeper.  It does require precise delivery, but very hard to defend if the taker does get it into the right area.

Attacking – free-kicks

A bit more ingenuity here than with their corners!

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Pic 16 - Barnsley work a disguised routine

With the free-kick probably too far out to attempt a shot, Styles lines up to hit the area in behind the Coventry defensive line for the Barnsley “big-men” to attack (green circle).  However, he passes to Thomas (16) who has tried to sneak up on the left.  As he passes the ball, the Coventry wall collapses its position and they drop deep and move towards the ball / Thomas to block a cross / shot.  Thomas switches it back to Styles who strikes it first time, but his shot is blocked.

Defending – free-kicks:

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Pic 17 - Barnsley set a very high line versus Boro!

Having mentioned earlier that in open play Barnsley’s centre-backs are reticent to play a high line I was really surprised to see them set such a high line for a defensive free-kick against Boro.  It leaves a massive space in behind for Boro to make runs into.  Something for City to exploit if it happens on Saturday.  It really is an open invitation to drop a ball between the defensive line and the keeper.

Possible Line-up:

GK: Brad Collins (23) – former Chelsea youngster who joined on a free transfer in July 2019.  Previous loans at Forest Green and Burton who made 22 appearances in his first season at Oakwell.  Started the season behind Jack Walton (22) but got his place back against his former club in a 6-0 defeat as Barnsley exited the cup.

RWB: Callum Brittain (22) – signed during the break from MK Dons for an undisclosed fee could come straight in.  Decent on the ball and quite physical.  Played for England u20s under Keith Downing and had made over 100 appearances for MK.

RCB: Michael Sollbauer (30) – signed by Strüber from in January his old club Wolfsberger where he played over 300 times, the vast majority in the Austrian Bundesliga.  Brings experience to a very young Tykes squad and played a key part in turning around results las season.

CB: Michal Helik (25) – signed on his 25th birthday last month from the Polish topflight side Cracovia.  Polish u21 international who has a good goalscoring record for a defender.

LCB: Mads Andersen (22) – former Danish u19 international who signed last season from AC Horsens for £900k.  At 6’4” he is a threat from set pieces but also very comfortable on the ball.  A player who really improved over the second half of last season with Aapo Halme (22) alongside him. 

LWB: Jordan Williams (20) versatile wingback who started at Huddersfield before a loan at Bury.  Joined the Tykes in August 2018 for an undisclosed fee and has made over 50 appearances.  

CM: Alex Mowatt (25) – seems to have been around forever.  Starting at Leeds he surprisingly left in January 2017 and although had a loan at Oxford, the central midfielder has become a key player for Barnsley. Has a very tidy left foot and definitely has a goal in him.

CM: Callum Styles (20) – started at Burnley before getting snapped up by Bury in the summer of 2016.  Signed by Barnsley before being loaned straight back.  Last season he broke through and his busy performances have certainly caught the eye this season.

AM: Luke Thomas (21) – former Cheltenham academy product who moved to Derby in 2017.  Had a good loan spell at Coventry in 18/19 before signing for Barnsley last season for £1.25m.  Normally a winger he has moved to a central position where his tricky footwork can create openings.

CF: Cauley Woodrow (25) – former Fulham product who represented England at u20 and u21 level.  Having been loaned to Burton where he helped them avoid relegation in 16/17, he signed on loan for City in 17/18.  Unfortunately, he never got a real chance and has shown his Championship quality with Barnsley (initially on loan).  Has scored 36 goals in 78 starts (6 subs).  My DANGERMAN although subject to late transfer window interest from Cardiff!

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Pic 18 - Woodrow wheels away after scoring for City

CF: Conor Chaplin (23) – livewire striker who started at Portsmouth before a loan and then permanent move to Coventry.  Signed for Barnsley last summer and scored 13 goals in all competitions.  Works hard defensively too. 

Other Players of note:

CF/W: Dominik Frieser (27) – another ex-Strüber player at Wolfsberger but signed from Linz in August for £700k.  Has featured in each game (4 starts 3 subs) whilst settling in.

CF: Patrick Schmidt (22) – another Austrian but signed by German Daniel Stendel last summer from Admira Wacker for £1m.  Started just 2 Championship matches last season but subbed on 27 times.

CM: Herbie Kane (21) – signed on deadline day from Liverpool for £1.25m.  Well known to City fans as Bristol-born and at pinched from our Academy aged 15.  Previous loan spells at Doncaster in 2018/19 where he did really well and Hull City last season where injury curtailed a promising start.

How do we win?

Over and above the areas covered earlier I’ve identified two main areas that I think if City get right will play a big part in them returning from Oakwell with the three points.

1.     Ball Winning Midfielders

I’ve already mentioned how other teams have exposed Barnsley by pinching the ball high up the pitch with the Tykes a bit too keen to get players forward. 

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Pic 19 - Bakinson pinching the ball in dangerous areas (versus Sheffield Wed)

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Pic 20 - Weimann recovering the ball in dangerous areas (versus Forest)

With Andreas Weimann buzzing around Alex Mowatt and Callum Styles and Tyreeq Bakinson imposing himself on Luke Thomas, City can win a lot of possession high up the pitch.  If City can quickly get Jamie Paterson on the ball after winning it or feed our wing backs, then we can really hurt Barnsley. 

2.     Maintain our distances back to front

With Barnsley’s centre-backs happy to remain deep it is key that City don’t fall into the same trap and allow the play to become spread-out.  That will even out the game and Barnsley’s technical build-up will have to room to pass and move.  

So far this season City have been pretty good at keeping the distance between our defence and attack relatively small, and in many respects, this is because Bakinson is very good at making sure he doesn’t play too deep.  In recent seasons a criticism of mine has been that our defensive midfielder(s) have played too deep, coming too short in build-up or too deep when defending.  This has often resulted in a big gap to the forward line where hopeful direct balls to Diedhiou have left our midfielders watching the ball fly over their head and they are then too far away to retrieve loose balls.

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Pic 21 - City keep small distances front to back (versus Sheffield Wednesday)

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Pic 22 - a slightly bigger distance versus Forest, somewhat reflecting how we were pegged back second half

We can see from City’s average positions above that we were more compact versus Sheffield Wednesday where we totally controlled the second half.  Against Forest those distances were bigger (still not large though) and we saw a much more open second half.  Some of that was down to Forest chasing the game.

In both pictures we see Tyreeq Bakinson ensuring he doesn’t play too deep (red centre arrow).  Couple that with his ability to pass forwards (sounds of Downing and Simpson’s “eyes forward” ringing out!) and it gets City on the front foot and really gets the best out of Paterson and Weimann’s attacking qualities and instincts.  

In matches where a City midfield player has played more than 15 minutes, Bakinson passes the ball forwards 40% of the time, compared to Kasey Palmer (35%), Weimann (29%), Paterson (28%), Nagy (24%), Brunt (24%) and Massengo (11%).  Bakinson is consistent too, even his worst game (38%) is still better than any of the above’s best – Paterson (37%).  He really has made his mark in City’s midfield.  Long may this continue.

Prediction:

I see City continuing their 100% start, taking advantage of a Barnsley side that give up possession in their own half.  I do expect a fairly open game though, so goals aplenty

Barnsley 1:3 Bristol City

 

WOW! somebody that has a LOT of time on their hands, quite the most detailed analysis in the world( in a Jeremy Clarkson voice) thanks for that, hope you get the score right.

Edited by pillred
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Barnsley fan here. Signed up just to say I really enjoyed that read, very good analysis and you definitely know your stuff. One particular weakness of ours you pinpointed very well: "only one Barnsley player has made it into the penalty area". This is something that has frustrated us for a while, and must be something opposition managers/scouts pick up on too. 

Looking forward to the game tomorrow, I reckon we need the points more than you do ;)

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Barnsley forum have a thread about this thread :laugh:. http://barnsleyfc.org.uk/threads/bristol-city-forum.296488/

A few quotes:

"Impressive that. A much better read than the usual lazy expectations of turning us over and references to whippets, flat caps etc."

"Its obviously written by Lee Johnson. Great to see him still being involved in his teams games even if it is as a forum pundit."

"I got a bit bored after chapter 7"

 

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5 hours ago, NlGHTMARE said:

Depends when he actually signed, I’ve known us sign a player every journalist and punter as known we’ve signed him, but we’ve had to wait hours while the club make daft videos and photos to tweet before officially announcing it. 

You`re presumably happy to have hung on to Woodrow & Mowatt? I think you`d resigned yourself to them being sold hadn`t you?

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6 hours ago, NlGHTMARE said:

Depends when he actually signed, I’ve known us sign a player every journalist and punter as known we’ve signed him, but we’ve had to wait hours while the club make daft videos and photos to tweet before officially announcing it. 

We have announced a club record deal and done the photos with the player and then not signed them before.

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