In the first of the “Championship so far” series, South Yorkshire outfit Barnsley will be analysed. It would be fair to say that most people regarded the Tykes as definite candidates for the drop at the start of the season, yet Keith Hill’s men have started rather successfully by their own standards and currently sit in 13th place in the table.
Having played a total of five games, the Tykes have managed to accumulate seven points. While this is undoubtedly a fantastic record considering their reputation in the division, one has to question if they do rely on their form at Oakwell too much.
At the moment, Hill’s side have yet to record a point on the road, with all of their points arising following results at home. Victories over Middlesbrough and Bristol City as well as a draw to Blackpool have been the catalyst for their position and first and foremost, a return of seven points against sides such as these is certainly impressive.
However, having lost 3-1 and 5-1 to Wolves and Brighton respectively, it’s clear that they are a completely different outfit on the road.
Over the past few campaigns this has always been the case and it remains to be seen if Hill can manage to change things in this regard, or if Barnsley are going to simply rely on their home form throughout the season.
If it is the latter, it’s certainly a huge ask and might put too much pressure on them as the season progresses.
The Summer Buys
Barnsley started the summer with a bang after bringing in Egyptian striker Mido, although the former Tottenham ace has not even started for the club after sustaining an injury in pre-season. Considering the fact that the 29-year-old is probably one of the most seasoned strikers in the division, it will certainly be interesting to see how the club fare once he returns to full fitness.
Elsewhere, former Chelsea midfielder Jacob Mellis has undoubtedly made a huge difference following his switch and many supporters claim that he has filled the big hole left by ex-captain Jacob Butterfield.
Elsewhere, after managing to regain his place in the team following a shock red card in the League Cup, Ben Alnwick appears to be a decent buy and has performed well in recent encounters between the sticks.
However, most supporters will state that Tomasz Cywka is the most impressive summer purchase, with the former Derby man putting in several eye-catching displays that have contributed heavily to Barnsley’s success.
All in all, Barnsley’s campaign can be described as a resounding success so far. However, even though they are in a comfortable position now, the next few weeks are of huge significance for Keith Hill and his men with successive away games on the horizon.
Following their clear struggles on the road, Hill will be hoping that his team can at least net a point to relive some pressure off their shoulders for their next home game in a couple of weeks’ time.
Liam is an avid follower of English football and voices his opinion on the sport through his bonus sports blog. As well as football, he also classes rugby league, golf and tennis amongst his favourite sports.
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