On Saturday 2nd April 2022, 22nd placed Barnsley will host 21st placed Reading in the EFL Championship. In the reverse fixture back in October 2021, it was Reading that came out on top with a 1-0 victory. John Swift scored in that game. Coming into this game that will take place after the international break, Barnsley lost 0-2 to Sheffield United, and Reading earned a 1-0 victory against Blackburn Rovers.
Barnsley enter this fixture having lost 0-2 to Sheffield United. This defeat means Barnsley have lost 22 times this season, winning six and drawing 10. Barnsley have the worst attack in the entire division with just 28 goals to their name. xG ranks Barnsley at the bottom of the league with 35 goals. They have underperformed even worse than expected going forward.
As seen in the above shot map, Barnsley have missed too many big chances inside the opponents’ penalty area, as shown by the big orange and red circles. Their top goalscorer, Carlton Morris, has only six goals to his name. No other player has even hit five goals.
When it comes to threat creation, Callum Brittain is Barnsley’s most successful both from open play as well as set-pieces. Still, he has only two assists to his name. Barnsley are not only struggling to take chances but also to create them in the first place. Besides Brittain, Josh Benson and Cauley Woodrow also create threats from set-pieces (corners).
Reading come into this fixture after winning 1-0 against Blackburn. Josh Laurent scored the only goal of the game. This result means Reading’s record now reads 11 wins, six draws, and 21 losses. xGA predicted Reading to concede 64 times, but in reality, Reading have shipped 73 goals so far this campaign, the second-worst defense in the league (only Peterborough United have conceded more).
As shown in the above chart, Reading are doing decently in attack, but it is not enough. They rank in the 50th percentile or lower in categories like goals per 90, xG per 90, assists per 90, xA per 90, and key passes per 90.
This match is a relegation six-pointer. Whoever wins this contest will boost their chances of survival in the EFL Championship, and whichever team loses is almost guaranteed to drop to the EFL League One next season. On paper, this match sees the worst attack of the league take on the second-worst defense of the league. A win for Barnsley won’t see them climb out of the relegation zone but will close the gap between safety and drop.