After they finished in the Championship’s play-off places last season, Barnsley were always going to be held to high standards at the start of the 2021-22 campaign, despite the fact that both Valerien Ismael and Alex Mowatt had departed to West Bromwich Albion.
Because of that it has been a summer of upheaval, with former Austria international Markus Schopp replacing Ismael in the dugout, CEO Dane Murphy also needing to be replaced after moving to Nottingham Forest and maybe the changes have resulted in a lack of form on the pitch.
After eight Championship games, the Tykes sit in 19th position having drawn four out of their last five matches.
Their only victory of the season was a 1-0 success on August 14 against Coventry City and things just haven’t really clicked yet – let’s look at two things that Schopp needs to address ahead of the Yorkshire side’s visit to Blackpool on Saturday.
Lack of goals
Barnsley weren’t prolific scorers last season despite getting into the top six, scoring just 58 times over a 46-game season and their goalscoring woes have ramped up yet again.
Only Hull have scored fewer goals than Barnsley’s six so far this campaign, with Cauley Woodrow and Dominik Frieser both scoring twice.
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The Tykes signed three new forwards this summer in Devante Cole, Aaron Leya Iseka and Obbi Oulare – Cole and Leya Iseka have managed five scoreless appearances between them whilst Oulare is yet to feature for the club.
Maybe when the latter two settle then the goals may start flowing but it’s difficult to see where the regular supply of goals is going to come from and you feel as though Schopp will have to rely on Woodrow to bag them.
Quiz: Are these 22 Barnsley stats real or fake?
Styles’ best position
One of the standout young stars of the Championship last season, Callum Styles really made a name for himself as a flying left-wing-back under Ismael, but the departure of Mowatt over the summer gave Schopp some food for thought.
Styles is naturally a central midfielder and he was used as one in pre-season – in his eight Championship matches so far this season five of those have come as a wing-back whilst the other three have been as a midfielder.
Josh Benson has been purchased from Burnley and the loan signing of Claudio Gomes from Man City has bolstered the engine room but with Benson and Romal Palmer both missing the last match against Blackburn, Styles could have easily found himself back in the middle of the park but fellow wing-back Callum Brittain played there instead.
The arrival of Bayern Munich youngster Remy Vita though has caused even more confusion about where Styles’ long-term future under Schopp is – Vita is a left-wing-back and will no doubt get his opportunity at some stage and if he impresses, Styles could move back into the middle of the pitch.