Barnsley are currently sitting in the relegation zone in the 2021-22 EFL Championship. This is despite reaching the promotion play-offs only last season. So what has gone wrong for the Tykes? To start, they have lost 22 games until now and have fewer points than games played. They have let in 54 goals, but most importantly, they have scored only 28 times this season, which is, by far, the worst-performing attack of any team this season. In this piece, we will explain how badly the team from South Yorkshire has performed in the attack.
Firstly, Barnsley have the lowest xG of any team in this EFL Championship season (35.06). And they are also underperforming on it, having scored just 28 times, seven goals fewer than expected. Barnsley’s record this season stands at six wins, 10 draws, and 22 losses, with an average of 0.74 points per game. Their top goalscorer, Carlton Morris, has netted only six goals.
Given above is the shot map of Barnsley this season from open play. The Tykes have taken 374 shots in the league, which gives them a conversion rate of 13.36 shots per goal scored. In comparison, the league leaders, Fulham, have scored 90 goals from 597 shots, handing them a conversion rate of 6.63 shots per goal. So, Barnsley are half as effective as the league leaders Fulham in scoring goals. Barnsley players have missed a lot of gilt-edged chances this season (chances that have an xG value of 0.4 or more). This may explain their underperformance on their already low xG.
Given in the above visual is Barnsley’s performances relative to the rest of the league. Barnsley’s shot accuracy has been 34% this season. Ideally, a good shooting team would have at least 45% of their shots on target. Barnsley players combined also record just 0.44 assists per 90. Just like their xG underperformance, they have also underperformed on their expected assists (xA). The Tykes also register just 1.81 key passes per game, showing that not only do they have a problem with finishing chances but also with creating adequate goal-scoring opportunities.
So, to conclude, Barnsley are the worst attack this season because their chance creation and shot conversion rates are among the lowest in the entire league. The Tykes look destined to go down to EFL League One next season unless a miracle happens, which looks very unlikely with each passing week.