Barnsley v Swansea
Monday May 17, 20:15
Barnsley impress on final day
Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael hailed the Tykes’ ‘incredible achievement’ of finishing fifth in the Championship after seeing his side sign-off the regular season with a 2-2 draw against champions Norwich. The Reds led through Cauley Woodrow and Conor Chaplin but twice conceded equalisers to share the spoils in an enjoyable end-of-season encounter.
Ismael had been disappointed with previous performances and wanted his side to improve against the Canaries. Speaking post-match, he said: “It is an incredible achievement to finish fifth, when you see what happened last season and the way we started this season It was important to finish strong against the champions – we are proud of the guys.”
Captain Alex Mowatt missed the game with a minor groin problem but Ismael says he will be back for the play-offs. Jasper Moon came in for Mowatt for his first career start while Toby Sibbick and Carlton Morris replaced Michael Sollbauer and Daryl Dike. Meanwhile, Liam Kitching made his Barnsley debut off the bench following injury.
Swansea fall short at Watford
Swansea‘s regular Championship season ended in defeat as they were beaten 2-0 by promoted Watford at Vicarage Road. The Swans created numerous chances against the Hornets in what was an entertaining contest. However, second half goals from Andre Gray and Isaac Success earned the hosts all three points and pushed City back to fourth.
Steve Cooper selected a strong 11 to start against Watford, in what was perhaps an indication of how he would look to attack the play-offs. Andre Ayew and Marc Guehi both returned to the fold after missing recent matches due to injury while Conor Hourihane and Jay Fulton were also drafted in, before the Swans boss rang the changes in the second-half.
Despite the defeat, Cooper was encouraged by his side’s display, saying: “You’re always disappointed to lose. I quite liked us in the game – I didn’t think it was a 2-0 game. We didn’t threaten the goal enough, particularly in the second half, and they did. That was where the game was won and lost. Going into these play-offs, we should fear nothing and go for it.”
Barnsley are winless against Swansea across all competitions since 1983 (W0-D7-L9) and the Tykes suffered 2-0 defeats in both regular season contests against the Swans this term, although the last of which arrived in January. At Oakwell, the Reds have returned four draws in six winless match-ups since their 3-2 success here against City 38 years ago.
Barnsley 2.245/4 have enjoyed a remarkable turnaround under Valerien Ismael’s leadership. Arriving at Oakwell in October with the Reds only outside the relegation zone on goal difference having not won any of their first seven league fixtures, the Tykes went on to collect 74 points from 39 games (W23-D5-L11), including W12-D4-L4 as hosts.
Swansea 3.309/4 were in automatic promotion contention for the majority of the campaign before running out of steam from mid-February. Steve Cooper’s side stuttered over the finishing line, posting W7-D4-L8 in their final 19 fixtures, including W3-D2-L6 in their most recent 11. City have W4-D2-L4 in their last 10 away days and won once at the top-seven.
Barnsley have fired blanks just three times in their last 19 outings, scoring multiple goals on 10 occasions, and the Tykes have also kept their sheets clean in eight encounters. However, only nine of the Reds’ 24 fixtures in 2021 have breached the Over 2.5 Goals line 2.407/5, a trend that’s steadily been followed by Swansea throughout the season too.
The Swans have fired blanks in six of their last 10 Championship dates, with eight of the most recent 12 tussles producing Under 2.5 Goals 1.654/6. Overall, a huge 70% of Swansea’s matches featured fewer than three goals with the same 70% figure paying-out for Under 2.5 Goals backers when City have taken to the road.
With 18 (75%) of the last 24 EFL play-off semi-final first legs producing Under 2.5 Goals profit since 2017 and 68% of the play-off semi-final first legs going the same way since the start of 2000/01, opposing goals appeals again. With 1.748/11 available on the Under 2.0 & 2.5 Goals via the Goals Line, we’ll make money should a maximum of two be scored.
For extra insight on the Championship playoffs and more, listen to this week’s Football…Only Bettor podcast