Automatic promotion hopefuls Brentford entertain relegation-threatened Barnsley on the final day of the Championship campaign. Mark O'Haire analyses the odds...
"Barnsley have seen at least one side fail to score in seven of their eight encounters since the Championship resumed in June"
Brentford v Barnsley
Wednesday July 22, 19:30
Brentford suffer shock loss
Brentford missed the chance to put promotion to the Premier League in their own hands by falling to defeat at Stoke on Saturday. With second-place West Brom losing at Huddersfield on Friday, the Bees knew victory in Staffordshire would see Thomas Frank's team leapfrog the Baggies into pole position to secure top-flight football for the first time since 1947.
The only goal of the game came in the first half when Bees keeper David Raya could only palm out a long-range strike, allowing Stoke to capitalise on the loose ball. Brentford centre-back Ethan Pinnock almost scored a dramatic leveller deep into stoppage time but his stinging effort was superbly tipped wide as Frank's troops created curiously little.
Arriving on the back of an eight-game winning streak, Brentford put in arguably one of their poorest performances of an otherwise excellent season and their prolific front three of Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo were kept quiet. Frank said the squad were emotional following their first defeat since 25th February, adding "That is the rollercoaster of football."
Barnsley pick up vital victory
Patrick Schmidt's 93rd-minute winner against Nottingham Forest has given Barnsley the belief they can avoid relegation from the Championship, says boss Gerhard Struber. The Tykes began the weekend needing to win both of their final two games to stand any chance of survival and they completed the first part of the puzzle deep into stoppage time.
Barnsley produced a positive, forward-thinking performance, and registered 19 attempts on goal - twice hitting the woodwork - before they were finally rewarded in the dying embers of the encounter when substitute Schmidt prodded home from close range following a scramble in the box. The decisive strike sparked wild scenes of jubilation at Oakwell.
Struber said, "I am very proud of my team, especially of our togetherness and spirit to never give up. We were very disciplined and we had so much control against this massive opponent. The team and the staff knows the quality in the team, everyone will fight and give the best he can and we believe we can stay in the league."
Bees' very short-priced favourites
Brentford were 3-1 winners when the two teams locked horns at Oakwell back in late September. That victory was the Bees' first triumph over the Tykes at this level in five attempts (W1-D2-L2) since 1993. This century, the pair have shared an equal W2-D2-L2 from six meetings at Griffin Park in league action.
Brentford 1.374/11 have been the Championship's form team since the league resumed in June, bagging seven wins from eight outings, keeping clean sheets in five of those fixtures. The hosts also boast the division's meanest home record (W14-D5-L3) whilst running Leeds close across a range of advanced performance data metrics, including Expected Goals (xG).
Barnsley 9.208/1 have enjoyed an upswing in performance level since Gerhard Struber was appointed in mid-November. The Tykes have taken W10-D7-L12 during his reign, a return that places the Reds slap-bang in mid-table. However, the visitors have managed just W4-D2-L8 on their travels in that time, as well as losing 14 of 22 road trips across the campaign.
Tykes can stay competitive at Griffin Park
Brentford are the Championship's top goalscorers, have notched in 15 of their past 16 games with their famed front three of Bryan Mbeumo, Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma grabbing 57 (72%) of their 79-goal tally. Thomas Frank's team have scored twice or more in 11 of 22 Griffin Park games with Over 2.5 Goals 1.674/6 landing in 11/17 when excluding the top-five.
Barnsley have seen at least one side fail to score in seven of their eight encounters since the Championship resumed in June. The Tykes have fired blanks on four occasions, but the visitors have also reduced their opposition to no more than a solitary strike in seven of those eight matches, seven of which featured fewer than three goals.
The visitors have improved immeasurably under Gerhard Struber's tutorship and with survival at stake, should be capable of keeping Brentford within reach on Wednesday night. With that in mind, it may pay to dip into the Same Game Multi market and back Barnsley +2 handicap and Under 3.5 Goals at 2.20.
Taking this selection sees us profit should Barnsley win 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 or 2-1, as well as the 0-0 and 1-1 draws, or even if the away side are beaten 1-0 or 2-1 by Brentford at Griffin Park.
Mark's 2019/20 Profit/Loss
Staked: 172.00 pts
Returned: 190.40 pts
P/L: +18.40 pts