A new season is upon us and Fulham Focus are back with the first of a season-load of match previews, bringing you stats, facts, predictions and a view from an opposition fan!
First up it’s Barnsley at Oakwell this Saturday. On paper, we should be favourites but we all know as Fulham fans that paper counts for nothing! So let’s divulge into Yorkshire affairs and take a closer look at what Fulham are up against for matchday one of what will hopefully be a very memorable season.
- 80 Meetings in all competitions, Fulham have won 23, lost 31 and drawn 26 times.
- Fulham have won 5 of the last 8 meetings and are unbeaten in the previous 4 meetings.
- During these last 4 encounters, Fulham have scored 11 and conceded 4.
- Before that, the last time we played them was back in the 2000/01 season where we drew 0-0 at Oakwell and won 5-1 at the Cottage.
- Barnsley were the only side we played twice during the famous 23-game unbeaten run in 2017/18.
- The last time Fulham lost to Barnsley came in March 2000 (Barnsley 1-0 Fulham).
Last 8 Meetings
- 27/01/2018 – Barnsley 1-3 Fulham
- 23/12/2017 – Fulham 2-1 Barnsley
- 14/01/2017 – Fulham 2-0 Barnsley
- 15/10/2016 – Barnsley 2-4 Fulham
- 10/02/2001 – Barnsley 0-0 Fulham
- 10/09/2000 – Fulham 5-1 Barnsley
- 21/03/2000 – Barnsley 1-0 Fulham
- 13/11/1999 – Fulham 1-3 Barnsley
Players in Common
Having been picked up from Luton Town as a teenager, Cauley spent a few years in our academy before being given his debut at 19 years old by Felix Magath in a vital relegation six-pointer against Cardiff. With 6 Premier League appearances under his belt, he scored in our final game of the 2013/14 season against Crystal Palace becoming one of four teenagers to score for the club in the Premier League. From then on, it’s fair to say that his career in a Fulham shirt didn’t take off as hoped and the promising academy striker signed off his time in SW6 on 66 appearances and 14 goals, spending his final days as a Fulham player on loan with Burton Albion, Bristol City & Barnsley whom he would eventually sign for permanently this year.
His career with the Tykes has been significantly more successful. Cauley finished the 2018/19 season with 19 goals and spearheaded the clubs league one promotion in his first season. At present, Cauley’s record with the Reds is so impressive, he even betters Mitrovic with a lower minutes-to-goal ratio for their respective clubs.
Plus – Kevin Betsy, David Button, Allan Clarke, Emmanuel Frimpong, Julian Gray, Jonathan Greening, Alfie Mawson, Mark Stallard, Andranik Teymourian, Marcello Trotta, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Tony Warner, Ryan Williams & Cauley Woodrow.
Barnsley Stats (2018/19)
- Barnsley were unbeaten at home last season. Winning 65% and drawing the rest. They kept 10 Clean sheets at home.
- Barnsley scored 40 goals at Oakwell, averaging 1.74 goals per game (every 42 mins). They conceded 16 goals at home which is an average of 0.7 per game (every 57 minutes).
- They Scored in both halves at home 39% of the time.
- They averaged a goal every 42 minutes and conceded a every 57 mins at home.
- They scored first at home 70% of the time with 51% of their goals came in the second half. However, they were leading at half time 48% of the time.
- Only lost 3 times against teams in the bottom half, the other 4 losses came against teams in the top 10.
- Goalkeeper Adam Davies kept an impressive 19 clean sheets last year for them, however, he has since been sold to Stoke City. Barnsley have signed 2 new goalkeepers over the summer.
- Centre-backs Ethan Pinnock and Liam Lindsay were a formidable duo last year which ensured they only conceded 39 goals last year. Again, both of them have signed for new clubs. 3 new centre-backs have been signed.
- Right-back Dimitri Kevin Cavare played 41 league games for them and contributed with 5 assists and was ever-present for them alongside Davies, Pinnock and Lindsay.
- Cameron McGeehan played the majority of their games in defensive midfield, registering 1.4 tackles per games, 1.3 Clearances and 9 yellow cards.
- Centre midfielder Alex Mowatt played all their games, contributing 8 goals and 9 assists.
- Striker Kiefer Moore scored 17 goals and got 3 assists in their promotion push with ex-Fulham striker Cauley Woodrow bagging 16 in 31 games for Barnsley. Both strikers are still at the club and will be Fulham’s biggest threat.
Battle to Watch
Cauley Woodrow vs Maxine Le Marchand: After relegation, most people would’ve assumed that upgrades in defensive quality were a priority given that we were one of Europe’s worst backlines last campaign. However, the Tony Khan recruitment vortex has pulled out two new wingers – both very astute signings – but no defensive improvements as of yet. In last Saturday’s preseason game against West Ham, MLM played alongside Mawson at centre back in what looked a lot like a first XI, so it’s fairly safe to assume MLM will start again this weekend. Up against him is an even more familiar face in Cauley Woodrow who fired the goals in the second half of the season that took Barnsley up from League One. How MLM deals with the threat from the former Fulham striker will be a massive deciding factor for the outcome of the match.
Opposition View (@RedsReport_)
What is the general opinion of Cauley Woodrow amongst the Barnsley faithful. What level do you think his ceiling is based on his ability?
Everyone in our Town loves Cauley, there are many players which divide opinion and he isn’t one. Now he is getting a good run of games without interruption he is growing in stature. He has the potential to be a Premier League relegation scrapper, for us that is.
Similar question for Alfie Mawson who also played for you. What was the overall opinion on him in a Barnsley shirt and did he struggle with injuries at your club?
Alfie Mawson was a rock at the heart of the defence for Barnsley’s Wembley twice-winning team. His partnership with Marc Roberts was wonderful. He rarely struggled with injuries and played a high percentage of games when he was with the Reds.
After you play us, your next 5 games are at home to fellow promoted sides Charlton and Luton, plus trips to Sheff Wed, Birmingham and Wigan. All teams you’d expect to be in the bottom third of the table. How important is it that you pick up points quickly and is the prospect of playing one of the ‘favourites’ and Premier League dropouts first a good thing or a bad thing?
It is incredibly important to get off to a great start and amass as many points as possible in the first 5 games, we currently have a winning mentality and have proven difficult to beat at home. Regardless of who we were to play in the first game, we would have been underdogs. Every betting site and “expert” has us to be rock bottom. The performance on Saturday would make up for a lack of points, taking some kind of solace from that into the next games would be brilliant.
What are your predictions for the top 6 and bottom 3 this season?
How did you set up the team last season and are you expecting it to be a similar style this time around?
Barnsley set up as 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 last season and expect to see a similar shape this season. However, we now have an abundance of attacking talent which could see us alternate to a 4-3-3 at times with a fluid front 3.
Which positions are your strengths and weaknesses? Anyone we should be wary of?
I believe our strength is the fact every player has bought into the system and style of play which Mr Stendel has brought with him, we always look threatening on the counter and we can hurt other teams if our gegen-pressing wins us the ball high up the field. Our weakness is probably a lack of experience at this level, but that could work either way.
How do you see the game panning out?
We will make it difficult for you, all of your players will have to contribute otherwise you could find yourself outworked.
Heart says 1-1.
(4-4-2): Radlinger; Cavare, Anderson, Diaby, Pinnilos; Wilks, McGeehan, Mowatt, Thomas; Chaplin, Woodrow.
Thanks to the guys from ‘The Reds Report’ podcast for answering our questions.
It’s been over two months since the final game of a miserable season at the Cottage and a break from watching us concede three every weekend has been welcome. But the familiar new season optimism is back as we’ve managed to retain the majority of the squad that got us out of the Championship in 17/18 and added Cavaleiro and Knockaert to an already exciting top half of the pitch. The unknown factor is whether, with Scott Parker at the helm, we can repeat a similar style or results that we achieved under Slav and the answer to that at this stage can only be we don’t know.
Last season could hardly have been more different for Barnsley as they stormed to automatic promotion in League One under the guidance of Daniel Stendel. An exciting blend of talents such as Woodrow, Kieffer Moore and Alex Mowatt, combined with a back line that saw them finish with the best defensive record in League One last season, means it’ll be an interesting test for the Whites on Saturday at Oakwell.
Barnsley 1-2 Fulham.
(4-3-3) Betts, Steven Sessegnon, Odoi, Le Marchand, Bryan, McDonald, Johansen, Cairney, Knockaert, Cavaleiro, Mitrović.