Barnsley – Match Report VS AFC Bournemouth 04/12/20

Bournemouth made the long journey up to Barnsley from the south coast on Friday night, with a win taking them top of the league. Bournemouth were looking to bounce back from only their second league loss last week. Meanwhile, Barnsley were trying to find some form after a mixed bag of results recently, however new manager Valérien Ismaël has been in the job for two months now and he has done well to stabilise Barnsley around mid-table.

Barnsley played in a 3-4-3 formation with an interchangeable front three, whilst Bournemouth outnumbered Barnsley in midfield by playing a 3-5-2 formation. Bournemouth took the lead in the 14th minute after they swiftly beat the Barnsley press with some nice football. Dominic Solanke then doubled Bournemouth’s lead on the stroke of half-time. Barnsley failed to lay a glove on Bournemouth in either half, creating just 0.49xG. compared to Bournemouth who racked up 2.24xG and scored another two goals in the second half to make it 4-0 after some questionable goalkeeping.


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for their level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Herbie Kane

Player Profile

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 23/11/1998
  • Current Club: Barnsley
  • Career: Bristol City (Y), Liverpool (Y), Doncaster (L), Hull (L), Barnsley
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Herbie Kane was a commanding presence in a midfield two today despite only being 5’6. Kane is a technically able footballer and is able to play some nice passes, the majority of his passes were first time through the lines which was very impressive, and he was involved in the build-up for most of Barnsley’s attacks. Kane also was able to play longer passes and nice chipped balls into the striker’s chest. However, Kane was at fault for the fourth goal as he sloppily gave the ball away which shows the negatives of his quick ambitious passing style.

Defensively, Kane was poor, along with the whole Barnsley team. They tried to implement their pressing style onto Bournemouth with little success. The former Liverpool youngster was often chasing shadows of the Bournemouth midfield back to his own goal as Bournemouth attacked quickly. This occurred for the first goal, when he was tracking back Phillip Billing who was ahead of him and scored from outside of the box, but this wasn’t an individual error, more of a team error.

However, Kane had good communication when he was pressing as he told his teammates who to follow and where to go, using good hand actions and verbal communication. One of Kane’s most impressive attributes was his intelligence for just a 22-year-old. He had a great awareness and always seemed to have a mental picture of the pitch and where his teammates were, this enabled him to be able to play one touch passes without looking up. He also played two quick freekicks which led to Barnsley’s best chances, his quick free kicks were weighted perfectly and were very accurate whether it was a cheeky chip or a crisp through ball.

Overall, it was a very good performance from Kane who excelled on the ball for Barnsley, but he may be better suited in a team that doesn’t press as much. Kane also had a long throw on him which could be put to good use in a tall team.

Rating – A2

Conor Chaplin

Player Profile

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 16/02/1997
  • Current Club: Barnsley
  • Career: Portsmouth, Coventry City, Barnsley
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary Position: Winger / Second Striker
  • Preferred foot: Left

Chaplin has a very similar style to Kane, both physically and technically. He is a relatively small attacker with very little physicality, but he was very competent on the ball. Chaplin can play anywhere across the front line; he started off on the left wing this game but often was in the middle when out of possession and he also switched to the right during the game. Chaplin has great vision, he’s able to play passes that are just outside of his periphery vision and are often first time. Chaplin likes to take as little touches as possible when involved in the build-up play which helps keep the tempo of the game up.

Chaplin’s main attribute is his ability to pick up great positions and little pockets of space in between the lines, this happens most often when he plays on the wing as he likes to play as an inverted winger, dropping deeper and playing more centrally than a traditional winger. The 23-year-old is at his best when he combines his first-time passing, vision and picking up good spaces as he is able to receive the ball well and pick out a penetrating pass. Chaplin also made good runs in behind the defence and out wide, he has good pace, and his final ball is good; he will be annoyed his teammates didn’t get on the end of any of his dangerous ground crosses.

Chaplin looks a technically able player and seems very intelligent on the pitch, he linked up with Kane well to get on the end of his quick free-kicks when the Bournemouth defence was sleeping. His physicality is his only negative as he lost a few physical duels but his pros highly outweigh his cons.

Rating – A2

Callum Styles

Player Profile

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 28/03/2000
  • Current Club: Barnsley
  • Career: Burnley (Y), Bury, Barnsley
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Styles’ played as a left midfielder today in Barnsley’s 3-4-3 formation despite preferring to play in the middle of the park. He played as more as a left wing back out of possession as Bournemouth pinned him back. Styles is lacking any strength or size, standing at just 5 foot 5 he struggled aerially. Styled also pulled out of multiple challenges and slide tackles as he let the opposition easily win the ball without trying to contest the ball which was disappointing to see.

Styles ghosted through the first half as Bournemouth dominated possession. In the second half, Styles was much more involved offensively; he got up and down the left wing very well. His dribbling was good, and he won several fouls when cutting inside and using quick feet, he also had a good cross on him when he had the opportunity to do so. Style’s is left footed and he didn’t seem too comfortable using his weaker foot as he had to adjust his body position to avoid passing with his right which was awkward.

Overall, Styles showed good glimpses of his ability and showed good attacking intent when the game-state allowed him to get forward. Styles had good energy throughout the game, he pressed when the team did and had mixed success; sometimes him and the team were beaten easily but other times Styles won the ball back well in the final third. His lack of physicality however is a big concern and I feel like this may hamper his potential to make the move up, although Styles is only 20 so he still has time to physically develop.

Rating – B2

Mads Juel Andersen

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 27/12/1997
  • Current Club: Barnsley
  • Career: Bröndy IF, HB Köge (L), AC Horsens, Barnsley
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Andersen played on the left of the back three today despite being right footed, and he was a very big presence, he has a slim figure but he’s 6 foot 4 and it’s no surprise to see that he has the most clearances in the championship this season. Evidently, Andersen is good in the air and is an aerial threat in both boxes, getting on the end of corners and long throw-ins. Despite his gangly appearance, Andersen was very good on the ball. His passing was powerful and penetrative, and he wasn’t afraid to take risks with his passing; Andersen’s technical ability was exemplified when he put in a lovely whipped cross in the corridor of chaos when he ventured forward on his supposedly weaker foot. Andersen’s ball control was also impressive, when the ball was cleared with power to him, he liked to control it with his feet rather than let it go out for a throw in or header it away which showed his confidence.

On the other hand, the danish centre-back was rash defensively. When Barnsley pressed, Andersen was caught too high up the pitch and out of position, allowing lots of space in behind for Bournemouth players to gallop forward in numbers – this occurred for the first goal which you can see in the images below where Andersen is circled out of position. He is also very easy to play around as his turn of pace is slow and he isn’t the most agile player – his lack of pace was exploited a few times by the pacey Bournemouth attack.

Andersen’s defensive and attacking ability were completely opposite; Andersen had poor speed and agility which resulted in him being turned too easily and not suited to a pressing team. His defensive game was summed up when he gave away a needless foul when blocking off an opposition player which led to a free-kick goal, and he was booked in the second half for a rash sliding tackle. He was very disappointing and his on the ball ability didn’t compensate for his poor defensive performance.

Overall – C

Jack Walton

Player Profile

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 23/04/1998
  • Current Club: Barnsley
  • Career: Barnsley (Y), Stalybridge Celtic (L), Barnsley
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Preferred foot: Right

Walton is average height for a goalkeeper, standing at 6’2 and looked competent and confident in the air. He made a very good punch from a cross on one occasion, but more impressively he communicated loud and clear with his backline, so his defenders knew he was coming for the ball, which avoided any potential confusion. Walton was heard throughout the game shouting at his defenders giving them simple but effective instructions, such as “stop the cross” and “away” which is helpful for defenders to get extra information when defending. Distribution wise, Walton was sound, his long kicks were in the rough area of who he was aiming for and he was comfortable making short passes.

Disappointingly, Walton was extremely poor at shot stopping today, he could have done better for the second goal where he was hesitant whether to close down the angle for the striker or stay on his line and he ended up being beat at near post which is never a good thing for a keeper. Walton also had poor positioning for another 1v1 later in the game, where there was ample space at the near post for the striker to score, however it was a poor shot hit straight at Walton who let the ball through him when he should have comfortably saved it. Furthermore, Walton’s decision making was also very unconvincing when sweeping up. Bournemouth had a great opportunity to open the scoring when the Barnsley number 1 came rushing out of his goal, but he was beaten to the ball by the striker who knocked it past him and had an open goal to score into but missed. Walton was hesitant from this moment on when sweeping through balls, which may cause confusion in the Barnsley back line.

It’s Walton’s first full season as Barnsley’s number 1, so it will be interesting to see how he develops and whether he learns from his mistakes. His performance wasn’t up to scratch today and needs to improve, but his shot stopping ability and positioning when facing shots is a concern.

Rating – D

Written by Andrew Hunter / @HunterAnalysis on twitter

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