Analysis of Barnsley's 3-0 loss at Bournemouth
NO SHOTS, NO CORNERS, BARELY AN ATTACK
The Reds did not have a single shot, on or off target.
They did not have a corner and you count their attacks on one hand.
Clarke Oduor burst into the box twice – being tackled once then miscontrolling the second time – Romal Palmer made a mess of a cross in the area then, in the second half, both Callum Styles and Aaron Leya Iseka had long-range shots blocked. It is extremely rare that a team's entire attacking threat can be summed up in one sentence and usually none of those incidents would feature in a match report as they were so far from being goals.
They were outplayed and outnumbered in midfield, the defence looked increasingly dejected while under almost constant attack and their goalkeeper made a vital error for the second goal.
Bournemouth were unbeaten and among the favourites for promotion back to the Premier League they left last year while their squad had been signed for about £100million and they started seven internationals.
They gave a debut to 61-cap England international Gary Cahill who has won two Premier Leagues, two FA Cups, two Europa Leagues and the Champions League while he made his professional debut in 2004, when Barnsley centre-backs Jasper Moon and Toby Sibbick were four and six respectively.
In contrast, Barnsley started none of their six summer signings while they were weakened by injuries and absences.
But that mismatch does not excuse such a poor performance on a ground where they gained a stunning victory last season.
Cahill must have thought the Championship will be a cushy retirement party after barely having to sprint during a simple afternoon for the home defence.
Only time will tell whether this was the natural order of the Championship re-establishing itself after last season or just a bad day for the Reds.
PLAN TO PRESS HOSTS INTO ERRORS WORKED… FOR 8 MINUTES
Markus Schopp used the words ‘lazy’, ‘immature’ ‘naive’ and ‘not good enough’ to describe his side’s performance.
But the coach, whose side have now won one in seven this season, must take some responsibility for a such a nothing display after two weeks of work on the training pitch. Schopp is partly hamstrung by injuries and not having any of the six summer signings ready to start - although it is his choice not to play Devante Cole - but the introduction of his passing style in the brutal Championship is proving a tricky process.
Barnsley had hoped that Bournemouth's passing style would play into their hands and they could press and disrupt their hosts. That is exactly what happened – for eight minutes.
Then the hosts scored with their first attack and began to dominate, easily breaking Barnsley's increasingly misfiring press with skilful passing or dribbling and carving through the defence at the other end. Bournemouth's accurate crossfield passes seemed opened Barnsley up as the Cherries easily found gaps between the back three and wing-backs.
It was the visitors who regularly lost the ball deep in their half as they badly struggled to pass out from the back.
Despite their riches, it was actually two Bournemouth youngsters who made the difference with left-back Jordan Zemura scoring twice while left winger Jaidon Anthony was the best player on the pitch.
TACKLE ON WILLIAMS COULD HAVE BEEN RED CARD
Barnsley could argue that Bournemouth should have played the last hour with ten men.
There is a strong case that Phil Billing should not have been on the pitch after clattering Ben Williams who had to go off with an ankle injury.
It was certainly a very forceful challenge which falls into the 'seen them given' category and Schopp said it was a red card.
Callum Styles finished as left wing-back, replacing Williams having started in midfield – due to Josh Benson's mysterious absence – alongside Romal Palmer who was then joined by debutant substitute Claudio Gomes.
Gomes looked assured for the most part, playing some good passes, but also lost the ball in the build-up to the third goal.
Also making his debut was Iseka who, after seeing his side concede in his first minute on the pitch for them, struggled to get into the game but showed some decent crossing ability and hold-up play on his brief glimpses on the ball.
SECOND GOAL KILLED GAME
Brad Collins has probably been Barnsley's best player so far this season, after a strong end to the last campaign, but looked to be unsettled from the start. Last time at Bournemouth he sprinted out of his box several times and did not get the ball but was not punished. This time he was punished for different types of errors. As well as gifting Bournemouth the ball with poor passes out from his box, he spilt a cross for the crucial second goal just after the break.
The Reds were all set up to go again at just 1-0 down, despite a tough first half, and debutant Aaron Leya Iseka came on to add a different threat, but they then went 2-0 down within seconds of the restart and the game seemed over from that point. The home fans had been chanting ‘dodgy ‘keeper’ at him even before that error.
Collins made some decent saves before and after that incident, and he was not the only player to make a mistake for that goal, but it seemed a vital moment.
FANS’ CHANTS AND STADIUM ANNOUNCEMENTS HIGHLIGHT OF DAY
When someone tricking the home club’s stadium announcer into saying ‘happy birthday to Mick Oxlong in the away end’ is - by far - the highlight of the day, you know it has been a tough one on the pitch for Barnsley FC.
That PA announcement was met by much amusement in the press box which must have been replicated in the away end where there seemed little else to smile about as the Reds delivered a dismal display.
The Barnsley fans were the best performers in Reds shirts at Dean Court as they also sang ‘you’re just a town full of Tories’ to the home fans and, even after many left when the third goal went in, those who remained chanted ‘we’re going to win 4-3.’
It was excellent support considering the eight-hour round trip to the south coast and they deserved better than what they saw on the pitch.