This year’s Premier League title was won by Manchester City as they demolished everyone in their path, becoming the first ever team in top flight English football to break the 100 point mark. Despite the football odds sites suggesting a very close title rash, City managed to go beyond expectations. Under Pep Guardiola, Manchester City played some of the most attractive football seen in England for a long time, carving out their opponents and breaking numerous records along the way. In total, City managed to break eleven records including the most consecutive victories (19), fewest minutes losing (153), most wins (32), most goals (106), and many more! Although all the headlines went to Manchester City in the past season, there were plenty of amazing performances from every team in the league. However it’s not just teams which made the headlines, it’s also the players. There were some incredible individual performances by players, and some of them will be participating in the World Cup.



There were a number of standout performances from players in the Premier League season, some of which will be leading their country in the World Cup. Golden boot winner Mohamed Salah had a sensational season for Liverpool, contributing 32 goals in the league and also scoring some vital goals in their Champions League campaign which they made it all the way to the final, eventually losing to Real Madrid 2-1. The Egyptian was the main attacking outlet for his club, and will also be the main attacking outlet for his country. England captain Harry Kane also enjoyed a good campaign, finding the back of the net 30 times in the league and eleven more times in other competitions. Although Kane managed to achieve his best ever goal tally in his career, it still wasn’t enough to win the golden boot for the third consecutive year.

Kane and Salah may have been the key players for their respective clubs, but there are a number of players which have also been putting in some impressive performances for their clubs and will be playing the World Cup. In this quiz, it is your job to guess how many players from each Premier League club is participating at the prestigious tournament. Clubs such as Manchester City will have more players participating than clubs such as Watford, but can you correct guess the specific number of players? Give it a try and see how many questions you can get correct!


The 2018-19 domestic football offseason should be unusually quiet. That’s not to say there won’t be a flurry of transactions (and indeed some interesting moves have already been made at the higher levels). But with most of the football world having turned its attention to Russia and the 2018 World Cup, the 2018-19 season is going to sneak up on us at the end of the summer. Even with the World Cup dominating attention however, we wanted to take a brief midsummer glance at the outlook for Barnsley in the upcoming League One season.



Where Things Stand

The 2018-19 season should be particularly interesting simply because Barnsley is starting in a new league. Granted, one would rather have moved up a league than down, but so it goes sometimes. Barnsley was relegated from The Championship after finishing 22nd in the league, just two points behind Bolton in the safe 21st spot. As you’ll likely recall, Jose Morais was sacked soon thereafter as the team searches for a fresh beginning. Again, it’s better to be promoted than relegated if you’re going to start in a new league, but Barnsley supporters should at least be able to head into the autumn expecting to win matches. As the top team relegated, Barnsley will need to take every opportunity this year to assert itself in League One and bounce right back up to The Championship in short time.

Summer Moves

As of now the summer has been all about departures for Barnsley. Looking at the list of transactions to date, we’ve seen the loss of six players to date (counting three who have simply expired and appear unlikely to be brought back). Captain right-back Andy Yiadom has signed a new deal with Reading, Bradley Ash moved on to Boreham Wood, and Christoph Knasmullner (who won’t be missed by most supporters) wound up with Rapid Vienna in the Austrian Bundesliga. As for incoming players, there isn’t a great deal of news just yet. But we do have a new manager in Daniel Stendel to be excited about. Though he was sacked after his first season as a head coach for Hannover 96, Stendel should bring a fresh approach to Barnsley. A former German striker, he emphasizes pace and aggression, to the tune of 50 goals in just 28 matches while he was in charge at Hannover. Additi onally, at just 44 years of age, Stendel should naturally inject some energy into the club.

The Odds

At this early stage you may have a hard time finding meaningful, updated odds on League One for 2018-19. For one thing, the summer transfer window is still open and teams’ rosters are still in flux. And for another, as mentioned, there just isn’t as much attention as usual being paid to domestic leagues given that the World Cup is in full swing. That said, the odds are at our fingertips these days with online and mobile betting sites, such that as soon as they do start to trickle out, you’ll have no trouble finding them. All we can say right now is that as the strongest team relegated, Barnsley should be in the hunt at the top of the league, at least as far as preseason odds are concerned.

The Hopes

The obvious, primary hope is that this team can quickly get back up to Championship football after one season, and then progress through the second tier over time. This is an attainable goal, and one that will be on all supporters’ minds. Within this goal however, the big thing to watch and hope for will be what Stendel does to a roster that’s going to continue to change. Despite his having been sacked after one season at Hannover 96, Stendel appears to be a promising young manager, and one who will inspire an entertaining brand of football. The hope, therefore, is that Barnsley will not just establish winning ways in League One, but do so in a way that’s a treat to watch.
It has been a troubling 2017/18 season for Barnsley and their supporters. The Tykes, one of the primary contenders for relegation back in August, have struggled to inspire confidence for most of the campaign and a drop into League One is now a distinct possibility. Barnsley need Tom Bradshaw, their joint-top goal scorer this season, to step up when it matters most of all; and he can be the main man at Oakwell for years to come.



Although his form has tailed off since joining Barnsley from Walsall in July 2016, Bradshaw is capable of producing a moment of magic on the big stage. His goal scoring record since the start of 2018 isn’t exactly great but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Bradshaw notch the decisive goal that secures Barnsley’s Championship status. He has the 'big game' pedigree and will be desperate to gain respect from fans after a difficult spell.


With three wins in their previous 14 Championship games, Barnsley have shown glimpses of quality in recent months but that might not be enough to avoid the drop. Keeping Bradshaw on the books will become a top priority for Jose Morais (or his successor) this summer – the Tykes will need players to commit their long-term futures to the club and Bradshaw, linked with a move to Reading, could stay at Oakwell if they avoid relegation.

Despite that record, you could argue that Barnsley have not made significant improvement during Morais’ tenure. The Tykes were languishing in the relegation zone when he took over at the helm and they’ve gained just one place since February 16th. Whatever happens this weekend, fans will have reservations over whether Morais should be allowed to see out the remainder of his 18-month contract.

Bradshaw’s drop-off in form will be of some concern to the Oakwell faithful; the Welshman has scored just once in his last 23 Barnsley appearances but did represent his nation in their two China Cup fixtures in March. The Tykes are 4/5 in the latest football betting odds to drop out of the second tier but a return to form for Bradshaw could make all the difference. That 2-0 victory over Brentford in their last Championship outing has given Barnsley a chance.


It's the 2016/17 season. Barnsley FC currently sit 7th in the Championship with the club looking towards the Premier League. Barnsley born and bred Patrick Cryne was desperately assuring fans that our key players won’t be sold. Hourihane signs for Villa, Winnall signs for SWFC and James Bree also signs for the Villains, leaving the Reds with a core of Barnsley men at the helm, Owner Cryne, Boss Paul Heckingbottom and Captain Marc Roberts.

Fast forward six months and it’s the summer, ‘Robbo’ signs for Birmingham City, despite further assurances to fans that our key players won’t be sold. The Reds’ squad is down to it’s bare bones, relying on the ‘spreadsheet’ formula to build a squad for the Championship. Ironically, in the league where we belong, statistically speaking.


Let’s talk about the spreadsheet, the transfer strategy inspired by Billy Beane's 'Moneyball' vision.

In the case of the Reds, the player in question must have value. Let’s take Brad Potts for example; the player must A) represent good value for money considering our financial situation during the Cryne led era, in other words the player must not cost too much. B) the player in question must have resale value, we sign a player for £250,000 and then sell them for £1,000,000.

There are many flaws though however with the second part of this. To make a team that is good enough to challenge, you have to have a certain level of consistency. If you are only signing players simply to sell them on later, then categorically you have no chance of ever gaining consistency and ongoing improvement.

You can say whatever you want about the spreadsheet; you cannot argue that statistically speaking each of our signings have looked excellent on paper, but are there any other critical judgements being made that will support an individual signing's transition and evolution to actually improving the team?

Personality


Any good side has characters within it. A clear number of leaders within a dressing room. With a team that has been built off of a spreadsheet, what do you see? What do I see? No leaders. Four captains in a single year. What does that tell you about the spreadsheet formula in terms of leaders?

You can teach a man Maths, History, Biology, but you can’t teach him personality, strength to be who they are and to be a leader. You look at all the great sides over the years in this league, the Wolves team this year they have; Conor Coady, Willy Boly and Ruben Névés, and that’s just one team as an example.

Another thing that spreadsheet doesn’t cover is what type of player are they? Strong, weak, a flair player? A team player, a selfish one at that.

The 'Moneyball' strategy focusses on individual statistics. But where is the vision and identity beyond this? What are the missing factors that will make Barnsley FC a better football team?
It’s fair to say that this has been an eventful season for Barnsley fans, but not in the way that we would have hoped. The takeover in December offered promise, but the protracted process hung over the first half of the campaign, and the departure of Paul Heckingbottom and his entire team led to further destabilisation. A return of four points from four games under new boss José Morais isn’t a bad start, but the Tykes continue to flirt with the relegation zone and it’s all a far cry from last season’s successful campaign.

What has gone wrong this season? To an extent, the poorer performance this time around isn’t a surprise. Difficult second-season syndrome can affect teams at a higher level as their rivals adjust to their style of play. This can be particularly tricky for less financially powerful clubs such as Barnsley to counter as they don’t have the option of bringing in a number of better players to enable them to continue to improve.

An inability to turn good performances into victories, particularly at home, has also been a problem. The Tykes have drawn seven games at Oakwell and have earned creditable points against the likes of Wolves and Preston, but had they managed to turn one or two of those stalemates into victories, they’d be in a much more comfortable position.




Can they survive? As we know, every season throws up a team that discovers its form in the closing weeks and pulls clear of relegation, and Barnsley fans checking out online betting odds at Stakers will be hoping that this time around their club is the one that pulls off a spectacular escape act. Certainly, another spell in League One is not what anyone wants, not least the club’s new owners, who have grand ambitions.

There are a number of factors in Barnsley’s favour. The first is that, unlike most of their relegation rivals, the mood at the club remains fairly positive. It wasn’t so long ago, after all, that we were in the third tier, and psychologically the Tykes are in a stronger position than the likes of Sunderland, Burton and Birmingham to take part in a relegation scrap.

Barnsley also have a relatively easy run-in. Apart from the game against Derby and possibly the tie with Bristol City, most of the remaining fixtures are against middle-of-the-table sides that will probably not have much to play for, including the crunch fixture against Leeds at the end of April, for which the players should need very little motivating!

While the Tykes appear to be stabilising under the influence of their new boss, many of their rivals appear to be in freefall, particularly their nearest challengers, Birmingham City, who’ve lost their last seven, and bottom club Sunderland, who’ve only won once this year.

While the final weeks of the season are sure to be tense and include many nail-biting moments, Barnsley have a good chance of avoiding the drop this year, and hopefully they can rebuild over the summer and start to head in the right direction next time.

With Barnsley once again featuring at the wrong end of the Championship table the supposedly imminent takeover of the club cannot come quick enough for fans and players alike. A point against local rivals Sheffield Wednesday is to be applauded but just one win in the last eight games shows that the uncertainty around the club needs to end.



Although all fans have been touched by the way Patrick Cryne has battled his illness and kept them informed of developments concerning the future of the club, there are some who have been vocal about the time it has taken for the takeover to complete and frustrations are beginning to show.

Imminent Takeover?

If – as had been hoped – the consortium headed by Chinese billionaire Chien Lee manages to formally take over in the next couple of months then it would give Paul Heckingbottom a chance to invest in some new players in the January transfer window and potentially push for promotion or a playoff spot.

The club are third favourites for the drop at around 6/4 and that’s an adequate reflection of the season so far. Sunderland are expected to recover after a disastrous start so it’s surely the time for quick action.

But these kinds of business deals can drag on and if it doesn’t go through in time then that would be a massive blow for the club – leaving Barnsley in a perilous position going into the New Year.

The Season So Far

It has been a tough few months for the club and with only a handful of victories Barnsley are already looking nervously towards the bottom of the division. It could be argued that the club’s position belies the way the side has played and performed so far but – as the saying goes – the table doesn’t lie and more three point hauls are definitely needed quickly.

Don’t Wait and See

One thing that manager Paul Heckingbottom will be very clear on is the need for the squad he has right now to be performing better. Barnsley may have been unlucky against Hull and Wednesday but they need to make their performances count – and put away chances – if they are going to climb the table.

Only Burton Albion have had fewer touches in the opposition box in the Championship this season and that needs to change quickly. Tom Bradshaw is the top goal scorer at the moment but he needs some help from his fellow attackers to ensure Barnsley are taking three points home on a more regular basis. Chelsea loanee Ike Ugbo has only one goal in a Barnsley shirt this season so he is one player that needs to make a bigger contribution to the side.

A Step Into the Unknown

With uncertainty over the completion date of the Chien Lee led takeover it is very difficult for Paul Heckingbottom - and the club as a whole - to plan ahead and that makes it difficult to know what the January transfer window holds. The summer saw a lot of players coming in and out of the club – including the loan signings made before the deadline – and without a takeover deal in place it would seem unlikely that much business could be completed in the New Year.

On the other hand, if there is money to spend, Barnsley may be able to pick up some new players – including some from overseas – to push the club back up the table. Chien Lee’s association with French club Nice will excite many fans as it could mean some squad players from the Ligue 1 club swapping the south coast of France for Oakwell in the New Year.

Uncertainty Reigns

With recent rumours of the takeover collapsing, Paul Heckingbottom has gone on record to vent his frustration at the situation - and with an injury to defender Adam Jackson he knows that an influx of funds would be ideal come the turn of the year. But with the fans still squarely behind the team it may be the support that helps Barnsley stay up this season – even if the takeover eventually goes through.