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Preview - Barnet (a)

Here we go again!

Another season in Division 5 and an opening day fixture away at Barnet. Just like the last two seasons it is already shaping up to be another unusual campaign.

The National League will start with just 23 teams due to the loss of Macclesfield last season and no promotions from National League North & South. And if that isn't enough to make things worse a number of matches have already been postponed due to Covid-19.

It's interesting to see that Dover are amongst those that have called a postponement, especially considering they are starting the season with a 12 point deduction.

Anyway we are where we are so let's look ahead to the game on Saturday at The Hive.

For Barnet 2020/21 was a season they would probably prefer to forget finishing bottom of the pile having won just 8 of their 42 games. However The Bees have performed well in pre-season and have made a number of key signings including experienced winger Daniel Powell from Crewe who has plied his trade in the Championship, and combative ex Notts defender Jamie Turley who has signed on a free transfer from Leyton Orient.

Daniel Powell Barnet - Crewe Alexander
Daniel Powell in action for Crewe Alexander

The Bees will be playing under the watchful eye of ex Notts Boss Harry Kewell who took over as Manager in June this year and despite having his work cut out you can be sure many of the issues Barnet experienced on the pitch last season will be well and truly ironed out during the coming campaign.

Harry Kewell Barnet
Barnet Manager Harry Kewell

Notts will be hoping it's third time lucky on Saturday having lost both the previous opening games of the National League season and there is no reason to suggest they won't come away from North West London with a result.

With the exception of Alex Lacey and Lewis Knight, Ian Burchnall has a fully fit squad to choose from. You could argue that Cal Roberts and Ruben Rodrigues are not quite ready for a full 90 minutes but it would be a surprise to not see either of them playing a part.

Callum Roberts Notts County
Callum Roberts - Ready for a start at Barnet?

Both are going to be key to Notts success this season and I wouldn't blame Burchnall for taking a cautious approach with their involvement in the early matches.

As it is the first game of the season it is difficult to apply any meaningful stats to the fixture, however despite the semi final play-off loss to Torquay Notts finished the season strongly winning four and drawing one of their last 6 games.

Barnet also finished the season well with two wins at home to Maidenhead and eventual league champions Sutton Utd.

The bookies have Notts as clear favourites with the best available odds for a Notts win currently circa 31/50.

Barnet are currently 15/4 and you are looking at 14/5 for the draw.

Based on these odds Barnet have a 21% chance of winning and Notts have a 62% chance of coming away with all three points.

Before I leave you I just want to provide an update on how stats will be produced this season.

Over the last couple of seasons I've tried to continuously improve the level of data, visuals and analysis provided but it has always been very time consuming due to the lack of free data available at this level.

I have taken the plunge, let the moths fly free from my rarely opened wallet and now have access to Wyscout. This will allow me to provide more in depth analysis but will also mean some of the other stuff I've done will now be incorporated into this data to try and streamline the process for me and improve the experience for the reader.

There are still some visuals I will keep that I think have merit which will include goals and assists, points needed and goal scatter visuals. The rest I will produce as interactive searchable and sortable table formats. It may take a few weeks for these to establish themselves and you should be aware that the match reports may come a couple of days after the event due to the time it takes for Wyscout to publish the data.

In fact it is likely there will be more written content in the match previews with the reports focussing more on publishing the updated post match stats.

As most will know I'm attempting to run a fantasy league this season just based on Notts players. It's just for fun and not a fully automated system so please be patient with me once the games start coming.

If you haven't done so already you can discover more and enter the fantasy league here

Finally, if you haven't seen it yet myself and @Colin_Sisson on Twitter have a football stats, scouting and tactical analysis YouTube podcast called Analysis Bar. It would be great if we got a few more subscribers, our last episode "On the Radar" can be viewed below and includes an in depth look at Notts' summer transfer business.

As always many thanks for reading. If you have any questions regarding the stats please feel free to get in touch either via social media (just search Notts County Stats on Twitter, Facebook etc) or by using the contact form on the website.

Until next time . . . COYP!