The EFL campaign ends in spectacular fashion as Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley meet at Wembley eyeing up promotion back to the second tier.
Sheffield Wednesday produced the comeback of all comebacks to secure their place, first losing their grip on the title despite gaining 96 points in the regular campaign before beating Peterborough United on penalties after winning 5-1 over 120 minutes having lost the first leg 4-0. Things were far simpler for Barnsley, who beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 on aggregate after a comfortable fourth place finish, albeit their 86 points would have won often seen them finish much closer to the automatic promotion spots.
As it’s the final showing of the entire EFL campaign, we’ve put together all the data you could ask for to give you the best possible chance of winning some money via a Sheff Wed v Barnsley bet builder. Read on to find out who we are backing in our bet builder tips and click here to learn more about how to make the most of our stats pack guides.
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Predicted Lineups
No need for Duff to change a winning team
Michael Duff has very few selection headaches for this clash. He has started with the same XI in both of his play-off matches and the only change from their final day loss against Peterborough was Mads Juel Andersen replacing Barry Cotter, unsurprising given Andersen is arguably the best centre-half in League One. If there is a change, it would likely see two-time play-off winner James Norwood replace Serbian loanee Slobodan Tedic.
Recovery key to Moore selection
Darren Moore went for an extremely bold selection in their second leg against Peterborough United and it paid off, Liam Palmer excellent in an unfamiliar midfield role, Callum Paterson a battering ram down the right while strikers Michael Smith and Lee Gregory both found the net. He is likely to stick with the same XI for the final as he looks to exert control via physical dominance and Barry Bannan’s left boot.
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Team Stats
Barnsley defensively excellent
Barnsley are overachieving going forward and underachieving defensively, it seems. The Tykes rank 8th for shots taken and shots on target but have scored the 3rd most goals in League One and managed to find the net in both play-off matches. Defensively, they are excellent, ranking 2nd for shots and shots on target conceded but their one goal per 90 conceded is only the 6th best record in League One. Notably, Michael Duff’s side aren’t afraid to collect a card and have scored more set-piece goals than all but two third tier teams (21).
Hitting the target an issue at both ends for Sheff Wed
Sheff Wed rank amongst the best in the division for most metrics but they have a big problem with ruthlessness. The Yorkshire giants rank 4th and 3rd for goals scored and conceded and 2nd and 3rd for shots taken and conceded. However, they are comfortably bottom half when it comes to the number of shots taken and conceded compared to shots on target. A notable statistic from set-pieces: No League One team conceded fewer goals from set-pieces this season than Wednesday (6).
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Shots and Shots on Target Stats
Barnsley’s defence not afraid to put their head where it hurts
Barnsley are a very functional football team and that includes a prowess from set-pieces when young centre-halves Liam Kitching and Bobby Thomas are having an impact, the former managing two or more shots and a shot on target in three of his last four matches while the latter has managed an effort at goal in 11 of his last 13. They could be a fruitful option for your Sheff Wed v Barnsley bet builder. A more familiar threat is Adam Phillips, who has taken two or more shots in eight of his last nine matches and took nine shots in the Tykes’ two play-off semi-finals.
Moore looking to his front three for glory
When you have the firepower of Michael Smith, Lee Gregory and Josh Windass in League One, you utilise it as best you can. Smith has had three or more shots in four of his last five matches and a shot on target in his last four. Windass has managed two or more shots in his last eight matches, four or more in five of those and a shot on target in seven. Gregory has taken two or more shots in ten of his last 12 starts and had a shot on target in eight.
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Goal and Assists Stats
Phillips having a major impact on Barnsley’s fortunes
Where Sheff Wed have Bannan, Barnsley have Phillips. The attacking midfielder is a shot-monster with an eye for the spectacular and it worked brilliantly under Michael Duff, the midfielder scoring nine and assisting eight. The only player to match his goal contributions this season is Devante Cole, the 28-year-old son of Andy having the best season of his career, managing over 25 starts for the first time and scoring 15 goals.
Bannan shining at a level beneath him for Wednesday
It’s scandalous that Barry Bannan is playing League One football but that’s where he finds himself, and the Scotsman is desperate to take Wednesday back into the second tier. Without taking a penalty kick, Bannan has seven goals to his name from midfield and 12 assists. Those assists have proven invaluable for Michael Smith, who has five goals in his last four and 17 for the season, the second-best return of his career.
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Passing Stats
Promotion push not based on possession
As noted above, Barnsley are a functional side rather than an expansive one – they have averaged less than 50% of possession this season. They have a collection of footballers that average between 40 and 50 passes per 90 minutes but none are particularly consistent in their approach and with Sheff Wed likely to see plenty of the ball down their left-hand side, the likelihood is that Barnsley won’t be worth looking at for a high number of passes.
Bannan given the ball every opportunity for Sheff Wed
Unsurprisingly, it’s Bannan that sees most of the ball for Darren Moore’s side and the man you should look towards in your Sheff Wed v Barnsley bet builder if you want passing numbers. Bannan has averaged over 50 passes per 90 minutes this season and attempted 71, 60, 54 and 54 in his last four matches. Reece James was heavily involved from left-centre-back last time out and managed 47 passes – one to keep an eye on.
Barnsley Cards and Fouls Stats
Centre of the pitch a danger zone for Barnsley opposition
When you go through the Barnsley team, it’s notable that most fouls are committed by players lining up through the centre of the pitch. Devante Cole leads by example, committing over 1.5 fouls per 90 minutes and fouling an opponent in five of his last six starts. Luca Connell is part of the spine and has committed a foul in 13 of his last 15 starts and behind him, Liam Kitching has fouled an opponent in 15 of 16 matches.
Lee Gregory gives as much as he takes, the Sheff Wed striker on the end of a foul in 11 of his last 13 matches and he can expect a good tussle with Andersen and Kitching. Dominic Iorfa is another that could find himself looking for the referee to blow their whistle, the languid defender happy to step out of defence and being stopped in five of his last six appearances.
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Key Matchups
Mads Andersen v Lee Gregory
Devante Cole v Dominic Iorfa
Luca Connell v Josh Windass
Sheffield Wednesday Cards and Fouls Stats
Palmer and Gregory love doing the dirty work for Wednesday
As you’d anticipate from an experienced squad, there a few players that enjoy doing the ugly stuff, or at least understand its importance. Lee Gregory leads the line for Wednesday and sets the tone, fouling an opponent in 13 of his last 15 matches and committing two or more fouls in eight of those. Liam Palmer can find a reason to kick or tug somebody from centre-back, wing-back or central midfielder, committing two or more fouls in 11 of his last 17 matches and six over the course of the two semi-final legs.
Gregory will have fun up against Bobby Thomas, Barnsley’s right-sided centre-back who was fouled in 11 of his 12 matches before the play-offs, where he came up against toothless centre-forwards. Ahead of him, Herbie Kane attracts opposition venom, being fouled two or more times in each of his last six starts.
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday key matchups
Lee Gregory v Bobby Thomas
Josh Windass v Luca Connell
Liam Palmer v Herbie Kane
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Bet Builder Tips and Picks of the Pack
One last push for promotion, and I think we’re in for a treat. This should be fantastic for bet builders, and I’ve put together my selections at odds of 3/1
Make sure to check out my Free Bets page if you’re looking to take advantage of any new sign up offers.
Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday
Both sides averaging 1.7 goals or more across the season
Two games between the sides finished 2-0 and 4-2
78% of Barnsley games finished over 1.5 goals
10 of Sheff Wed last 11 matches finished over 1.5 goals
Sheff Wed averaging 6.02 corners per match
Sheff Wed had four or more corners in 5 of last 6 matches – only game without was final day when there was nothing to play for
Sheff Wed had 7 corners over 210 minutes in their play-off semi finals
Kitching committed an average of 1.3 fouls per 90 minutes
Kitching committed a foul in 15 of his last 16 appearances
Gregory fouled in in 11 of their last 13 matches
Palmer committed an average of 0.86 fouls per 90 minutes
Palmer committed a foul in 15 of 18 matches
Herbie Kane has been fouled twice in each of his last 6 starts
Luca Connell has drawn a foul in 8 of his last 9 starts