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Real Sociedad have bounced back in strong style following a nervy start to the new season in recent weeks, as they have won each of their last two. They face an interesting challenge this weekend, as Athletic Bilbao are the visitors.


La Liga Preview

Two sides that are in the race for Champions League qualification this term will lock horns in La Liga this weekend. Athletic Bilbao currently sit fourth in the early standings, as they have won four of their opening seven matches this term. They come into this fixture after going five without a defeat, landing three victories over that period.

However, a response will be required from Bilbao this weekend, as they twice threw away leads in midweek before drawing 2-2 against Getafe in front of their home fans. Bilbao went ahead through Yuri Berchiche, before they went ahead for a second time through Inaki Williams in the second half. However, they were slightly hamstrung in that match, as they were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half time when Oihan Sancet was sent off.

Sociedad could jump above their rivals in the La Liga standings this weekend if they are able to pick up maximum points in front of their home fans. They should come into this fixture in good confidence, as they have won each of their previous two league fixtures.

The most recent of those was an away success against Valencia in midweek. Carlos Fernandez opened the scoring for Sociedad after 32 minutes, before Valencia’s chances of getting back into the game were negatively impacted following a red card in the 45th minute. Sociedad didn’t push for a second goal in the second period, with their winning goal ultimately being their only shot on target.


Real Sociedad vs Athletic Bilbao Head to Head

Each of the last three matches between these sides have been won by the team with home field advantage. That includes in this exact fixture last season, as Sociedad landed a 3-1 win in January. However, that remains their only win against Bilbao in the previous five league meetings between the sides.

Real Sociedad vs Athletic Bilbao Prediction

Sociedad have struggled for victories against Bilbao in recent history, and that is a pressing concern ahead of this fixture. Therefore, it could be worth siding with the draw. Two of the previous five meetings between the sides have ended level at 1-1.

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Barnsley vs Sheffield Prediction: League One Play-Off Final Match on 29.05.2023

Barnsley vs Sheffield Prediction: League One Play-Off Final Match on 29.05.2023

Alex Dudley Alex Dudley
  • Betting Tip
    Sheffield to Win
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It is the Football League One play-off final on Monday football when Barnsley go one-on-one against Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley from 14:00 GMT.

Barnsley, who finished fourth in Football League One, ended the season with three matches without a win. They won just once in the last five, drawing twice and losing twice, before making it past Bolton in the play-off semi-final. 

Sheffield Wednesday finished third on the table, five points behind the winners Plymouth Argyle, two behind second-placed Ipswich, and ten points ahead of fourth-placed Barnsley. 

Key Highlights

Barnsley Will go for Control in the Final

Lining up with three centre-backs, three midfielders, and two wingbacks, Barnsley will look to control the match.

This approach will allow Barnsley to be defensively secure by filling bodies in the narrow areas, making them compact and difficult to play through.

The wingbacks will offer an attacking outlet and a defensive cover for when Barnsley are out of possession.

The two forwards will allow Barnsley to pose an attacking threat. The attackers will play closely together, with the support of midfield runners and overlapping wingbacks providing the width. 

Sheffield Wednesday Will be Attack Minded in the Final

Sheffield Wednesday will adopt a similar back-three formation like Barnsley. However, the midfield area will be different. One of the players, likely to be J. Windass, will play in an advanced role to support the two strikers.

Wednesday will use the wing-backs in an attacking and defensive sense. However, given their attacking approach, these wide players, likely to be C. Patterson on the right and M. Johnson on the left, will be tasked with offering the attacking width and especially supporting the attacking players. 

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The choice of two strikers will allow Wednesday to cope well with the back-three formation expected from Barnsley. It will also allow them to spread the defence, especially when the attacking midfielder and the wingbacks join the fray in an attacking sense. 

Injury Report


Barnsley do not have fitness or suspension challenges going into the play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday on Monday.

This will give the manager a crucial boost; he will be able to call upon the strongest team possible to help them earn promotion.

It also means that the gaffer can leverage the full complement of the squad to change the match from the bench if there is a need. 

Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday also have access to the full complement of their squad ahead of the appetence at Wembley on Monday for the play-off final. 

This will give the manager tactical flexibility and leeway in plotting for this one-off clash, with promotion at stake.

This will play out during the match, with the manager able to call upon some of the best game-changers at his disposal to wrestle control of the match and bolster their chances of winning the final. 

Possible Lineups


H.  Isted; B. Thomas, M. Andersen, L. Kitching; J Williams, A. Phillips, L. Connell, H. Kane, N. Cadden; S. Tedic, D. Cole

Sheffield Wednesday

C. Dawson; D. Iorfa, M. Ihiekwe, R. James; C. Paterson, L. Palmer, B. Bannan, M. Johnson; J. Windass; M. Smith, L. Gregory


Barnsley will be pragmatic in their approach. They will play narrow and defend in numbers. They will be patient and guide their time before attacking.

They will prioritize solidity over attacking flair. Therefore, they are likely to cede control of possession and use transitions to make inroads into the Wednesday defensive structure.

Sheffield Wednesday will be adventurous in their approach. They will look to control the ball and advance it from the back. They will seek to use their passing progressively and vertically to create chances.

Sheffield Wednesday will take more risks, and they will be rewarded with the win and promotion. 

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