Talking Tactics | Barnsley v Swansea City

24th November
First team
Jake Bidwell Talking Tactics

After being held to a 1-1 draw with Blackpool on Saturday, Swansea City will look to get back to winning ways at relegation-threatened Barnsley in midweek. preview the game at Oakwell, looking at what to expect from the Tykes, a key battle and key stat to whet the appetite...

What to expect from Barnsley

Poya Asbaghi will be in charge for the first time after the Barnsley boss had a watching brief as the Tykes made the trip to title chasing Fulham at the weekend, falling to a 4-1 loss at Craven Cottage.

In his home debut at the Barnsley helm, Asbaghi will be looking to quickly endear himself to supporters and better the exploits of Markus Schopp.

Schopp elected to use a three-man backline during is time at Oakwell, but there was a switch to a 4-2-3-1 setup at the weekend, and the 36-year-old may keep the same system for the welcome of the Swans in midweek.

With a change in manager, it's difficult to gauge how Barnsley will play against Swansea on Wednesday night, particularly as their weekend clash was at in-form Fulham.

That said, Asbaghi has a big task on his hands if he is to guide Barnsley to safety.

Ahead of the midweek games, Barnsley sit four points off safety and would be at the foot the table were in not for Derby's 21-point deduction.

Only Peterborough (34) and Cardiff (32) have conceded more goals than Barnsley (29) at the time of writing in England's second tier this term so solidifying one of the weakest defences in the league is of paramount importance for the new boss.

In addition, no team has scored fewer Championship goals than the Tykes (13) this season, so Asbaghi certainly has his work cut out to improve Barnsley's fortunes at both ends of the pitch in order to beat the drop.

Barnsley can hardly call upon home comforts either, with only Cardiff (7) earning fewer home points than the Yorkshire side (8) this season.

Key battle

Jake Bidwell West Brom home 2

Swansea look to utilise the wing-backs to hurt opponents with Ethan Laird and Jake Bidwell providing the width down the right and left, respectively, for Russell Martin's side. Some 40% of Swansea's attacks come down their left flank and Bidwell could prove key as the Welsh side look to get back to winning ways this week.

Bidwell has had a direct hand in three goals in the Championship this season, scoring two, both of which have come in his last six outings.

A rating of 6.63 is the sixth-best of Swansea players to have made more than five appearances this season and, while the 28-year-old hasn't been hogging the limelight, Bidwell is a solid option down the Swans left, and one who'll look to put in another commendable shift in midweek.

Out of necessity, the hosts used Toby Sibbick at right-back at Fulham. Sibbick has featured frequently at centre-back in a three-man backline this term and, after using the 22-year-old at right-back in west London to mixed effect, Callum Brittain is expected to return to the side.

Only Michal Helik (7.08) has earned a better rating than Brittain (6.87) of Barnsley players in the Championship this season and having sat out the loss to Fulham due to a ban, the 23-year-old is set to start on home turf.

Brittain will certainly have his work cut out to keep Bidwell quiet, but averages of 1.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game suggest that the Barnsley youngster wand his experienced opponent will enjoy a good personal battle.

Key stat


Swansea have been a bogey team for Barnsley this century and considering the latter's dire form this term, the former will be hoping to maintain that dominance in midweek.

Indeed, Barnsley haven't beaten Swansea since their League One play-off final success in 2006, and even then that game was decided via a penalty shootout.

Inside 90 minutes, Swansea haven't lost to Barnsley since 1983, a run of 18 games. The Swans have won three of their last four trips to Oakwell, so it's no surprise to see that Swansea are favourites to win this week.

Of course, in football anything is possible and Barnsley will be desperate to impress their new boss on home turf, but the form book is very much in the visitors' favour.