Match Preview – Barnsley

Perhaps as a Leicester fan I ought to know better, but I still find it amazing that a team which ended last season’s league campaign with five straight wins has failed to record back to back league victories so far in this one.

It could be argued that an inconvenient fixture list is partially responsible. City have already played every side in the top six but only four of the 12 sides immediately above them in the table. With seven points currently separating Sven’s men from the playoffs, November’s fixture list presents an excellent opportunity to close the gap.

First up are Barnsley. A run of one win in eight league games has seen the Tykes slip from 7th to 17th and this has much to do with a problem City fans will appreciate, finding the net. Mark Robbins’ side have failed to score in four of their last seven matches.

History bodes well. This is a fixture that, with the exception of the last meeting between the two sides, usually ends in a Leicester win. Hugo Colace’s goal against City last season was Barnsley’s first against the Foxes since 1995. It ended a run of seven straight Leicester victories in which the Tykes failed to score. The Foxes have lost only one of their last seven league trips to Oakwell.

But Barnsley are showing a different mentality to last year. In 2009/10 the Tykes won 32 points against teams in the top half, but only 22 against teams in the bottom half. This season they have yet to lose a match against a team in the bottom 12, and have taken only 4 points from 8 games against the Championship’s top half.

Barnsley have also been far more clinical in front of goal than the Foxes this season. Mark Robbins’ side have scored one more league goal than City despite having 53 fewer attempts. It’s beyond doubt that Leicester have been wasteful, and whilst by no means alone in a poor strike rate, Martyn Waghorn’s return of 12 attempts on target from 32 attempts on goal is a standout example of exactly where Leicester need to improve.

But if City can keep themselves in the game until the hour, they have a great chance of taking points away from Oakwell. In the last 30 minutes of league games this season Barnsley have a goal difference of -10.

On a more ominous note, Neil Swarbrick will be in charge of Saturday afternoon’s proceedings. It will be the seventh time he has taken charge of a Foxes game and Leicester have not won any of the previous six.

Nevertheless, separated as they are by 14 places in the Championship’s form table, this is the sort of match that the Foxes ought to win.

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