Barnsley v Brentford | Sunday 29th September 2019, 13:30 | Sky Sports
Sunday lunchtime presents a televised Championship encounter with two teams who really could do with a win to try and kick-start their season.
Barnsley have found it tough since winning promotion, whilst Brentford are desperately lacking consistency. Something has to give at Oakwell this weekend, doesn’t it?
It would appear that Barnsley are something of a ‘bogey team’ for Brentford considering the fact that the Bees have won just one of the last eight head-to-head renewals. That is most definitely outweighed by the reality that Barnsley are winless since the opening day of the season, when defeating pre-season title favourites Fulham.
What Brentford wouldn’t do to have Neal Maupay in their attacking ranks right now! They were obviously going to miss a player of his quality, but being unable to replace him has ultimately been an issue for Thomas Frank’s men. Ollie Watkins has tried to fill in the role, but he often played out wide last season. He is their top scorer with four goals, however.
Tykes hard done by
Having watched the last two Barnsley games quite closely, I do think they have been a little unlucky to come away with back-to-back losses. Leeds are flying at the moment, but the Tykes really gave them a run for their money, and another day could’ve got something out of that one.
Following the 1-0 setback at Nottingham Forest last Saturday, boss Daniel Stendel claimed their second half showing was as good as they can play.
For all that Brentford are having their own goalscoring issues, Barnsley are having some of them, too. They’ve only got four to their name in the league and there is seemingly plenty of pressure and expectancy on Cauley Woodrow to deliver the goods. He got 16 goals last season in their promotion-winning campaign, and he has already missed three league games this time around because of injury.
They’ve averaging 13.8 shots on goal up until this point, with only seven Championship clubs managing a higher figure going into this round of fixtures. To me, it really is just a case of taking their opportunities, as they certainly create enough of them.
Having said that, Brentford are only conceding an average of 8.6 shots per game, with only Leeds managing fewer. Barnsley will therefore have to be clinical if they want to win this one, and that has been their shortcoming so far.
Same old story for Brentford
As mentioned above, only Leeds are conceding fewer chances than Brentford in the Championship. Leeds went into this weekend top of the table, with Brentford in 17th. It is fair to say that Brentford are more than organised defensively and that is clearly something Frank has worked them hard on from last season. That was their issue then, but another problem has rose this time.
Like Barnsley, Brentford just cannot put the ball in the back of the net. They only have five goals to their name, with four of them from Watkins. As I touched upon, he played a lot of last season on the left of the front three, so switching to a more central role when he had so much success out wide takes some getting used to. He’ll argue he is doing his job but needs others to chip in, as well.
They certainly have the quality, you’d like to think. Canos, Benrahma and Mbeumo are all dangerous players, but they probably aren’t what we would call natural goalscorers.
That is why Maupay is being missed as much as he is. His movement and finishing is above and beyond anything Frank has available to him. They’re averaging 13.4 shots per game, slightly less than Barnsley, but still more high than low in relation to the rest of the league. They’re creating, but not taking.
The betting angle
I was slightly taken aback by the odds ahead of this game. Brentford are around even money for this game, and I cannot for the life of me understand why. That means we can get 3/1 on Barnsley, which is too big considering both teams have similar issues going into the weekend.
Something which I have found out is that Brentford don’t generally cope too well with being the favourite, even more so away from home. Since the start of last season, Brentford have been the pre-match favourite in 39 Championship games and they’ve only won 16 of them. When specifically the favourite in away games, again since the start of last season, they have won just two of 13.
Barnsley have won 15 of the last 25 when deemed home favourite but we have to take into account the fact that the vast majority of those were when in League One last season.
Nevertheless, I cannot be having Brentford as these odds. Barnsley are overpriced and they’ve deserved more points than they’ve got. I wouldn’t put anyone off backing them at small odds at 3/1, but there is anything angle I am taking.
Barnsley Double Chance and Under 4 Goals is the play at 6/4 (Bet365) on the bet-builder. Every Brentford game this season has finished below 3.5 goals, and only one finishing above 2.5. Just two of Barnsley’s eight league fixtures saw at least four goals scored, but consider they’ve only scored four goals themselves.
It would be a shock if both teams suddenly found their goalscoring touch this weekend as this is a game both will not only believe they can win, but they will also be wary of losing.
Barnsley v Brentford – Barnsley Double Chance and Under 4 Goals (6/4 Bet365)