Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats and more

The end of the season makes all fans get a little sweaty. A decisive League 1 match awaits us. Two teams worthy to go to a higher league, who has more energy left after a long season?

Barnsley FC will host Sheffield Wednesday FC in the EFL League One playoff final match at Wembley Stadium. The fixture will take place on Monday, May 29, beginning at 19:30 IST.

What can we expect this Monday night? Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Barnsley News & Current Form:

The Tykes, despite their status as winners of the Emirates FA Cup (which was lifted in the early 20th century), are now seen as a football elevator, and at a fairly low level. What has worked in recent years has been to jump into the EFL Championship, however, without lingering there. In 2022/2023, in League 1, at a lower level, this team was the favourite, but completely optimistic predictions did not work out.

Moreover, having realized that the 2nd place is already unattainable, Michael Duff’s wards slowed down and did not win in the last 3 rounds. But it seemed to be a sober calculation, a kind of economy of power. 

In the playoffs, at least Barnsley got past Bolton Wanderers FC without much trouble. Even away they opened the scoring but settled for 1 – 1. But then was able to beat the Trotters at home, albeit minimally, 1 – 0, courtesy of a header by Liam Kitching at Oakwell, was enough to make the playoffs. 

In a daring move, Barnsley manager Duff recently revealed his optimism about having a complete squad for Monday’s final, implying that the majority of the Tykes’ lineup would naturally fall into place.

Devante Cole – top scorer of Barnsley FC

Despite his inexplicable and almost disastrous mistake in the second leg against Bolton, Isted will maintain his position as the goalkeeper, while Oakwell’s beloved hero Kitching will join forces with captain Mads Andersen and Bobby Thomas in the defensive trio.

Although James Norwood impressively scored 11 goals during the regular season, the 32-year-old will graciously embrace a supporting role once again, as Devante Cole and the talented loanee from Manchester City FC, Slobodan Tedic, combine their forces in the attacking front.

Jordan Williams about the preparation for the Wembley playoff:

“We’ve been building up this week and, towards the end of the week, we’ll ramp up and concentrate on them but, at the minute, it’s just about us doing what we do and working hard throughout the week.”

“We’ve been working hard and doing what we normally do – nothing changes; it’s the same process. We stick to what we do, and it’s been working for us for the whole year, so we’ll stick to the process.”

“I think it shows that, throughout the season, we’ve built as a group and as a team; we’ve bonded together and dug deep on Friday night and stuck together and stuck to the game plan.  You could see that with the result.”

Having emerged victorious twice against the Owls in the league this season, with a convincing 2 – 0 triumph at Hillsborough in September followed by a remarkable 4-2 win at Oakwell in March, Barnsley have undoubtedly gained momentum. However, despite these results potentially boosting confidence prior to the trip to Wembley, Williams firmly believes that they hold no influence over the outcome of Monday’s final.

“Those games don’t matter – it’s a one-off game, winner takes all. They’ll be going full throttle and we’ll be going full throttle, so it’ll be a very exciting and intense game for the fans and players. Hopefully, we can come out on top.”

Sheffield Wednesday News & Current Form: 

The Owls have played steadily in the Championship for a decade. Several times there were even chances to go up to the English Premier League, moreover, once they lost in the final of the tie, losing at Wembley to Hull City FC.

But a year ago, Darren Moore failed to prevent a fall to League 1. The Jamaican, however, stayed on, with an understandable goal: to bring the team back to a higher level. And to the last one they claimed a straight ticket.

But even their strong finish, with 5 wins in 6 rounds, was not enough to get ahead of Ipswich Town FC: the club ended up with 2 points more. Finishing in 3rd place, Wednesday went on to the knockout rounds.

The first game was played with Peterborough United FC on May 12 at Weston Homes Stadium. In the 20th minute the home side opened the scoring thanks to the efforts of Jack Taylor. Sixteen minutes later Joe Ward doubled the score. Despite the score, the first half saw Wednesday slightly outclassed. The second half kicked off with another Peterborough goal. This time it was the young talent of Kwame Poku who did the scoring.

After such a start Sheffield players got nervous and gave away the lead. In 82 minutes, the score was 4 – 0. Johnson Clarke-Harris converted a Jack Taylor assist, tying the game.

Owls head coach Darren Moore said after the first match:

“The first and second goals could have been avoided, Cameron Dawson lost concentration and we missed. The key was the third goal, which shouldn’t have been. We attack and don’t score, and on the counterattack, we let in a goal. We didn’t take advantage of our chances, which were plenty.”

“In terms of the score, yes, we let the fans down. We have a very difficult task, but we have to be as ruthless as possible in the return match. We got ourselves into this situation, so we’re going to try to get out of it.”

On social media, the indignation of Wednesday fans began: some suggested that Moore should leave the team, while others wrote racist insults about Darren. Moore rightly forbade his players to comment on social media until the return match in order to avoid further conflicts.

The return match was scheduled for May 18. Despite the devastating defeat and virtually no chance of qualifying for the finals, Hillsborough was packed.

As expected, the home team pounced on the attack and it paid off. In the 8th minute, the Owls earned a penalty kick which was successfully converted by Michael Smith. After 17 minutes Callum Paterson after a poor challenge on goalkeeper Will Norris crossed to Lee Gregory who planted his foot to double the score. The next goal was a long wait. In the 71st minute, Reece James put it past Will Norris. There was only one more goal to save.

In the 2nd added minute of the match, Dominic Iorfa gets an injury and defender Aiden Flint takes the field instead. Because of this, the referee gives Wednesday a little more time for a miracle. And it happened!

After a feed into the opponents’ penalty area, Aiden Flint heads the ball to Liam Palmer who scores his fourth and final save. It gets crazy at Hillsborough. The stewards could barely contain the fans, who were ready to share this success with the team.

However, it was too early to celebrate. The teams had an extra 30 minutes of playing time ahead of them.

The first extra half has begun. The home team continued to pounce and stressed the opponents’ goalkeeper Will Norris. At the end of the first extra half, however, Peterborough were able to get on the attack and earned the right to a free kick. After a feed, the ball hit the head of Lee Gregory before hitting the net of the Owls’ goal. It could have been the decisive moment of the game, but there were still 15 minutes to play.

In the 112th minute of the game, the ball was again in Peterborough’s goal. Callum Paterson’s first shot hit the leg of the visitors’ defender but after the second one the ball was in the net and something unimaginable started at Hillsborough again. Finally, the final whistle sounded and the teams went to the penalty shootout. In 120 minutes, Darren Moore’s charges took 33 shots, 17 of which hit the bar. Those were some cosmic numbers!

Author of the history-changing final penalty — Jack Hunt

In the penalty shootout, the score was 4 – 3, and Darren Moore entrusted the decisive blow to the experienced fullback Jack Hunt. And he didn’t let him down, directing the ball into the opposite corner of the goalkeeper. A moment later, and on the field already naked fans are celebrating the victory with the team and singing the famous “We are going to Wembley!

“I can’t get over what we did, because it was just a great night of football. There was real dedication on the part of the guys. After the first match we worked all week. Even with the penalties, we practiced that all week.”

“The goals were scored at crucial moments, but there was commitment, there was spirit, there was cohesion. I’m just happy for everybody in the football club. They deserved Wembley after that performance,”

Darren Moore shared his emotions after the game.

Already in the locker room, Darren Moore congratulated the guys with qualifying for the final, and thanked them for the game. And the guys, in the best tradition, opened the beer and poured it all over the locker room.

It was the most incredible comeback the League One had ever seen, why just the league, the whole of England! Wednesday put their name in bold letters in the list of the most fantastic comeback, probably not only in England but in the entire football community.

Sheffield Wednesday became the first team in English Football League playoff history to reach the final, despite losing the first semi-final by four goals.

In contrast to Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday has been concerned about the fitness of a couple of key players, namely Marvin Johnson and Dominic Iorfa, who showed signs of fatigue after the second leg against Peterborough. However, reassuringly, Moore has disclosed that both players have participated in regular training this week and are expected to be fully ready for the journey to Wembley.

Furthermore, there is a slight possibility that George Byers, who had initially ruled himself out for the remainder of the season due to a hamstring injury, could make a comeback and potentially secure a spot on the bench. Nevertheless, Moore has decided to maintain the same lineup that achieved an extraordinary comeback in the semi-final, opting not to make any changes.

Barnsley form guide: W-L-D-L-D-W

Sheffield Wednesday form guide: W-W-W-W-L-W

Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Head-To-Head Record: 

BarnsleyDrawSheffield Wednesday
  • February 10, 2018: Barnsley 1 – 1 Sheffield United (Championship);
  • August 10, 2019: Sheffield Wednesday 2 – 0 Barnsley (Championship);
  • February 8, 2020: Barnsley 1 – 1 Sheffield United (Championship);
  • December 12, 2020: Sheffield Wednesday 1 – 2 Barnsley (Championship);
  • March 20, 2021: Barnsley 1 – 2 Sheffield United (Championship);
  • September 3, 2022: Sheffield Wednesday 0 – 2 Barnsley (League One);
  • March 21, 2023: Barnsley 4 – 2 Sheffield United (League One).

Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Predicted XI:

Barnsley possible starting lineup (3-5-2): Isted; Thomas, Kitching, Andersen; Williams, Kane, Phillips, Connell, Cadden; Cole, Tedic.

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup (3-4-1-2): Dawson; James, Ihiekwe, Iorfa; Patterson, Bannan, Palmer, Johnson; Windass; Gregory, Smith.

Statistical preview of the match Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday:

  • Barnsley have won their last 3 games against this opponent.
  • Sheffield Wednesday are unbeaten in 5 of their last 7 games.
  • In the last 5 games, Barnsley are conceding an average of 2.00 goals per game and scoring an average of 1.20 goals per game.
  • In the last 5 games Sheffield Wednesday conceded an average of 1.20 goals per game, while scoring an average of 2.20 goals per game.
  • Barnsley’s top scorers: Devante Cole (16+3), James Norwood (12+4), Adam Phillips (10+9).
  • Sheffield’s top scorers: Michael Smith (20+8), Josh Windass (15+7), Lee Gregory (11+4), Barry Bannan (7+13).
  • In the five previous meetings of the tournament, Barnsley have won only once, drawn twice and lost twice.
  • In the five previous meetings in the tournament Sheffield Wednesday have won on four occasions and lost on only one occasion.
  • The last face-to-face encounter between Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday was on 21 March 2023 and ended 4-2 in favor of Barnsley.
  • Barnsley have lost three of their five matches at Wembley Stadium. 
  • Sheffield Wednesday won three of their first four games at Wembley.

What has been said before the match:

Michael Duff, boss of Barnsley ahead of the decisive game with Sheffield Wednesday:

“We have a full squad. Luckily, amazingly, no one seems to be feeling anything with a big game coming up! Touch wood, the next two or three days of training go well but we have the same pool of players to pick from.”

We know we can hurt Sheffield. But we also know that they are a huge club with big players who step up in big moments. Enjoy the day as much as you can, but we’re going there to win – not for the day out.”

“If you look at the betting odds we’ll be the underdogs. It’s not me trying to create a narrative. They are the facts. They finished with 96 points. God knows how many goals they’ve scored, loads of clean sheets, and 23 games unbeaten. Look what they’ve done after the first leg. But, they’re in a one-off game with us now.”

“The positive is that we know we can hurt them. I’ve said it before, going into the play-off games people talking about momentum – that didn’t worry me. I’ve seen my team train and work every day. We think we know what we’re going to get, hopefully, someone can step up and be the hero.”

Coach of Sheffield Darren Moore says the support will be essential on the day and wants Wembley bouncing:

“For me, the biggest component all the time is the fans. The key to this is our fans. The consistency, level and volume of support they’ve shown has always been there. They’ve driven us up until now and I’m going to ask them again to continue to do that and let’s approach this game together.”

“It’s to be enjoyed and embraced because they’re special times. But we don’t stand alone. I feel I’ve got an army that is with me and the players and staff. We’re all in it together.”

“I was invited to the play-off final in 2016 and I remember taking my eyes off the game and watching the Wednesdayites bouncing. It was such a joy to see. It’s one of the most fantastic sights I’ve seen in the game.”

“I’m quite calm about it. I’ve got to focus on getting the work done between now and Monday. I’m embracing it and enjoying it. We continue to work as we’ve always done and focus and prepare. All we focus on is what we’re doing on the pitch.”

“I have the title of manager but that title allows me to ask for help from everybody; players, staff, supporters, ground staff, ticket office, commercial, media… everybody! Everybody has played their part to help this club continue moving forward.”

Barnsley vs Sheffield Wednesday Prediction:

The Owls can take credit for the last part of this season as they have won five of their last six games. And their most recent victory over Peterborough is certain to be remembered by Sheffield Wednesday fans for a long time to come. On the back of a spirited display, Wednesday’s boys have a good chance of clinching the maximum result in the decisive showdown. Especially as the Tykes have been looking shaky in recent encounters.

At the same time, we note that Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday have, with few exceptions this season, been avoiding playing first fiddle. And the overwhelming importance of this encounter will hamper the teams in their efforts not to make any unnecessary mistakes, and this will have an impact on the game’s pattern of play. We will probably see a defensive-minded football. In principle, a typical scenario for the finals for the promotion.

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Parimatch News staff prediction:
We say: the match total will be less than 3,5 and Sheffield Wednesday will not lose in the regular time – Yes.