Kick-off: 1830, 22/05/2021
Stadium: Liberty Stadium
TV: Sky Sports
Swansea’s Andre Ayew struck the only goal in the first leg at Oakwell and Steve Cooper’s side will be looking to build on their slender advantage and get the job done.
The Swans, beaten 4-1 on aggregate by Brentford in last year’s play-off semi-finals, have won all three encounters against Barnsley this season and are now strong favourites to book their place in the Wembley final.
Their opponents have failed to score in those three previous meetings and we like the look of 33/20 for a home win as our initial Swansea vs Barnsley prediction.
A Look At Swansea’s Betting Odds
Ayew produced a rare moment of quality in the first leg, curling home an excellent finish six minutes before half-time to set Swansea up nicely for the return fixture.
The Welsh club were forced to dig deep in the second half and were indebted to goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who pulled off a terrific save to deny Barnsley’s Callum Brittain an equaliser.
Clear-cut chances at either end were few and far between, but Barnsley went close again in the closing moments when substitute Carlton Morris’ effort hit the crossbar.
Swans boss Steve Cooper attempted to keep a lid on expectation afterwards, but was delighted his side had matched Barnsley’s physical, high-energy effort.
“Andre came up with a bit of magic to give us a small margin, but it’s only half-time,” Cooper said.
“We’ve been here before 12 months ago and the final whistle in the next game is the most important one.
“It was a good effort from the boys. We knew the game would be a certain type and if we didn’t match them, we could come unstuck.
“We did match them and we had bits of quality.”
Woodman kept his 23rd clean sheet of the season in all competitions at Oakwell.
And with defenders Marc Guehi and Ben Cabango both in commanding form, 16/5 for City to win to nil again is good value from the Swansea vs Barnsley odds.
Last Swansea line-up: Woodman, Cabango, Naughton, Bidwell, Guehi, Hourihane, Fulton, Grimes, Cullen, Lowe, Ayew.
A Look At Barnsley’s Betting Odds
Barnsley have been one of English football’s surprise packages this season, transformed from relegation candidates to promotion contenders under head coach Valerien Ismael.
The Reds were fourth from bottom when Ismael replaced Gerhard Struber in October last year and with their ‘gegenpressing’ style secured a play-off place on merit.
They have found Swansea a tough nut to crack this season though, losing both home and away 2-0 during the regular season before their first-leg setback.
In fact, Swansea are unbeaten in their last 17 games against Barnsley.
The Reds won a penalty shootout in their League One play-off final in 2006, but have not won during 90 minutes against the Swans since 1983.
But Ismael was buoyed by his side’s second-half display and insisted the pressure will be all on Swansea in the return.
“The performance in the second half gives us a good feeling for the second leg – everything can happen,” the 45-year-old said.
“Two years ago, Leeds won at Derby 1-0 and everyone thought Leeds would go through. (There is) big pressure on Swansea. We will fight like the second half (on Saturday).”
The Tykes have had a memorable campaign, but we feel the play-offs is a bridge too far and like the look of 11/1 for a 2-0 home win in regular time to complete our Swansea vs Barnsley betting tips.
Last Barnsley line-up: Collins, Sibbick, Andersen, Helik, Styles, Palmer, Mowatt, Brittain, Dike, Woodrow, Frieser.
BARNSLEY 0-1 SWANSEA – Andre Ayew
Head-to-head: Barnsley 0-1 Swansea, Barnsley 0-2 Swansea, Swansea 2-0 Barnsley, Swansea 0-0 Barnsley, Barnsley 1-1 Swansea
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