Talking Tactics | Barnsley v Swansea City
Football stats experts WhoScored.com take a close look at the excellent form of Marc Guehi, and assess the impact he can make in tonight's play-off clash with Barnsley at Oakwell.
It's that wonderful time of the season once more as four teams vie to secure a spot in the Premier League. Having fallen at the semi-final hurdle last season, Swansea will be keen to go at least one step further this time around, but first must get the better of Barnsley in order to set up a trip to Wembley.
The Tykes have been exceptional under Valerien Ismael. Indeed, when he took charge last October, Barnsley were second bottom with three points from the opening six games. It's been some turnaround from the Yorkshire side and no-one will need any reminding of how dangerous an opponent they can be.
Only a handful of teams earned more home points than Barnsley (42) in the regular Championship season. That said, Swansea are unbeaten in their last seven trips to Barnsley, winning three, including a 2-0 win in the meeting between the pair in Yorkshire back in January.
Steve Cooper will look to keep the Barnsley attack quiet in a bid to take a positive result back to the Liberty Stadium and keeping a clean sheet could be of the utmost importance for the Swans boss. Having garnered experience in both play-off meetings with Brentford last season, Marc Guehi will look to use this weapon in his arsenal to good effect and help set up a trip to Wembley.
Guehi returned to the Liberty Stadium last summer after a successful six-month loan stint at Swansea from Chelsea and has been a mainstay in the XI when fit, starting 40 of 46 matches. Fans have been suitably impressed by the 20-year-old in a Swansea shirt and his superb defensive performances have been a key reason for the Swans' defensive resolve.
Only Watford (30) and Norwich (36) have conceded fewer goals than Swansea (39) in the Championship this season, who in turn kept a clean sheet in 20 of their 46 matches as Freddie Woodman claimed the Golden Glove award. If Guehi plays to the best of his ability, then Swansea will have a real chance to emerging with a positive result.
Guehi has garnered a WhoScored.com rating of 6.90, that the fifth-best of all Swansea players this season, while his best-rated performance in a 2020-21 league match actually came against Barnsley as he earned a WhoScored.com rating of 8.11 in a 2-0 home win over the Tykes back in December.
The on-loan centre-back has the quality to keep the Barnsley attack quiet, as he proved at the end of 2020, but on the occasions Swansea and Guehi faced the Tykes this term, they did so before Daryl Dike's time at Oakwell.
The American moved to Barnsley from MLS side Orlando City on February 1 and proved a superb signing for the Tykes. Indeed, Dike netted nine times on the back of his loan arrival, an excellent return for the 20-year-old, and Barnsley are hoping the striker can score the goals to get them back into the Premier League.
Just three of those goals have come at Oakwell, and Dike will surely be keen to add to that tally tonight.
Guehi already has experience in denying Barnsley this season and, while the pair of 2-0 wins in the league will count for nothing come kick-off tonight, it does illustrate how important the England Under-21 international can be for the Swans in the final promotion push.