- Stoke have lost back to back games to nil.
- Barnsley have taken seven points from three games since the restart.
- The Tykes have improved their defence under Gerhard Struber, keeping three clean sheets on the bounce.
- Stoke have won once in their last six games.
Barnsley picked up three points in midweek, but their unbeaten return to action hasn’t lifted them clear of the bottom three. The Tykes are still second from bottom in a tight relegation battle in the Championship. With the sides at the foot of the table hitting form, we are set for a thrilling final six-games of the campaign.
The fear among clubs is likely charging this battle further, with the uncertainty around what League One will look like next term leaving clubs desperate to avoid the drop. Barnsley are doing all they can at the minute, while Stoke are sinking into danger. Barnsley can leapfrog the Potters with three points this weekend, and our predictions see this going to form.
Barnsley’s defence could be the difference
Stoke know what it’s like for a side at the bottom to hit top form – they just haven’t done it themselves. The Potters were beaten 3-0 at Wigan on Tuesday, a result which heightened their fears of the drop. Before that they lost 2-0 at home to Middlesbrough, another side who have been left battling relegation. Overall the Potters have taken a point from their three games back, conceding in every game and letting in six goals.
That pales in comparison to the Tykes, who have made a near-perfect return to action. They have taken seven points from three games so far, with that run coming against three teams who all had hope of making the playoffs this term. Each of those wins have seen strong display’s from Barnsley, who have kept a clean sheet in each. Not only that, but they’ve looked incredibly solid, part of the brilliant job Gerhard Struber has done since arriving at Oakwell.
Tykes run finally paying off
Struber has had a brilliant impact on the club, so much so that it’s puzzling that they remain in such danger. Since November 20 – when he arrived at the club – they have the 12th best record in the league. They’ve conceded just 29 goals in 24 matches, which is fewer than the number they shipped in the opening 16 matches before he arrived. Nine of their 19 league defeats also came in those 16 games. Their turnaround in June has brought them up another level, which should worry Stoke.
Barnsley have lost only two of their last eight matches, while they head to a Stoke side who are in trouble. The Potters have won only once in their last six matches, which has left them facing the prospect of the drop. Given their recent results, we think that they’ll come up short against a side who are on top form. Barnsley are well valued to just avoid defeat here, while we’re also backing them to win 1-0 in our correct score prediction. With Stoke losing to nil in consecutive games and Barnsley keeping three straight clean sheets, the visitors should edge it.