The international break arguably arrived at an ideal time for Barnsley who look value on Saturday.
Barnsley v Fulham - Saturday 15:00
The international break arguably arrived at an ideal time for Barnsley, just as the players were beginning to agitate a little too much over results rather than retaining their focus on the basics. The Tykes were the better team for 45 minutes in their last outing at Leeds but lost their way once they fell behind, eventually going down 2-1.
So Paul Heckingbottom’s men have taken just one point from the last four matches but the overall forecast remains bright. The league table has them two points clear of Fulham, goal difference is eight goals in their favour and the shot data (54 per cent versus 48) suggests the gap is even bigger. On what grounds the visitors should be favourites for this game is anyone’s guess.
The Cottagers come into this clash on the back of seven games without a win, and that sequence is all the more worrying when you consider that Burton, Wigan, Nottingham Forest and QPR were among the opposition. By my reckoning, those four teams, along with Fulham, all belong in the bottom eight and the 7/4 available on the home win has to be snapped up.
Based on the respective shot data, my ratings make Barnsley no bigger than 5/4 and when the disagreement with the market is so stark, it makes perfect sense to pursue other avenues that capitalise further. Three of Barnsley’s five wins have been achieved by two clear goals, so take the 9/2 about them clearing the -1 handicap.