Football is a game about the tactics, the players, the occasion and sometimes luck. It is also a game of statistics.
Barnsley and Middlesbrough have only met 44 times in the League and have, over the years, thrown up an interesting set of results in ten of those fixtures. Looking at the table below you can see that there has been a symmetry in the results in five of the seasons....
Football League Championship Middlesbrough 2-1 Barnsley 09/02/2010
Football League Championship Barnsley 2-1 Middlesbrough 28/12/2009
Football League Championship Barnsley 1-1 Middlesbrough 22/04/1995
Football League Championship Middlesbrough 1-1 Barnsley 14/03/1995
Division 2 (old) Barnsley 1-0 Middlesbrough 11/05/1991
Division 2 (old) Middlesbrough 1-0 Barnsley 03/11/1990
Division 2 (old) Barnsley 0-0 Middlesbrough 25/03/1986
Division 2 (old) Middlesbrough 0-0 Barnsley 28/09/1985
Division 2 (old) Barnsley 2-0 Middlesbrough 19/03/1983
Division 2 (old) Middlesbrough 2-0 Barnsley 06/11/1982
Last season the Tykes took the points over the festive period at Oakwell, when a healthy Christmas crowd of 18,001 saw goals from Stephen Foster and Hugo Colace cancel out Justin Hoyte’s opener for Boro.
In the game at The Riverside in February, Killen and O’Neil ensured that Middlesbrough had a 2-0 half-time lead. Hugo Solace gave the Tykes hope of salvaging a point with a second half goal and despite concerted Barnsley pressure, the home side held on for the win.
The game on Saturday is a big test for Mark Robins’ team against a Middlesbrough side keen to return to the Premier League.
Boro’s intentions were plain to see in their pre-season recruitment drive and there is undoubtedly pressure on manager Gordon Strachan to achieve promotion this season. It will be interesting to see if Barnsley or Middlesbrough are involved in any transfer activity before the window closes.
The Tykes’ squad is not the largest in the Championship and is currently being stretched by injuries and Robins has hinted that there may be new faces coming to Oakwell. With Boro suffering a 2-1 midweek League Cup defeat at Millwall, Barnsley fans would be more than happy with a similar result on Saturday ahead of the international break.
Remember the result on Saturday and see what then occurs on 16th April 2011 at The Riverside!
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.