It was announced last week that Barnsley have parted ways with manager Markus Schopp. Schopp left the club after seven back-to-back losses. Following his sacking, Barnsley won 2-1 against Derby County at home, but the win proved to be just a moment of respite as they were back to square one, losing 0-2 to Hull City at home. As a result, Barnsley find themselves in the relegation zone at the 23rd spot in the Championship with two wins, five draws, and 10 losses in 17 matches.
Barnsley’s biggest challenge this season has been finding the back of the net. They have been able to score just 12 goals this season, while they have conceded 25. Their main man upfront, Cauley Woodrow, has been unable to deliver goals consistently for his side. So far, he has only scored three goals in the Championship this season in 17 appearances. Their inability to win close games has also caused them to drop many points. The Tykes have turned into a team that looks lethargic and low on confidence. They are in desperate need of goals and form if they are to survive relegation, a proposition that’s looking bleak as the season progresses.
While it’s difficult to find any saving grace from their season so far, one player in the recent games has perhaps provided Barnsley with a slight ray of hope. That player is the 23-year-old Belgian forward Aaron Leya Iseka. Leya Iseka joined Barnsley from Ligue 1 side, Toulouse.
Let’s dive into his stats this season to understand his strengths and gauge if he can provide Barnsley with much-needed goals.
Leya Iseka was used sparingly by Schopp this season, with most of his appearances coming as a substitute. Before Barnsley’s loss against Hull, the striker scored in three back-to-back games. Described as a unique and aggressive striker, Leya Iseka has ranked highly in terms of multiple attacking and creativity metrics despite making fewer appearances than his counterparts. He averages more than five dribbles per match with a decent success rate of 55%, while his attacking actions per match are also noteworthy.
His ‘pass receive locations’ display the areas of the pitch where he drops to receive his passes. He is comfortable in switching spaces in the opponent’s half to receive passes from his teammates, while he also drops deep to support his team in the build-up phases of the game.
Leya Iseka’s heat map is impressive for a forward. It indicates his impressive work rate. This season he has mostly operated on the left side of the attack. He is most active in the half-spaces in the opponent half.
So far, all three of his goals this season have been scored from inside the opposition’s box, indicating that he is capable of exploiting spaces in the opposition’s box. In addition, he is also not afraid of taking shots from outside the box. His most impressive attribute is his pace and finishing, while he also excels in one-on-one situations.
Leya Iseka possesses all the attributes that Barnsley need to find the back of the net. He has displayed brilliant finishing ability in recent games and needs to keep building upon that if he is to aid his side to survive relegation.