Joey Barton has been one of the most talked about players in the Premier League since he made his Man City debut against Middlesbrough in August 2002. He is well-known for his no-nonsense tough tackling nature on the pitch as well as his opinionated views off of it.
But this week the QPR captain has had to deal with the opinions of his own supporters who turned against him during the 3-2 win against Liverpool. After being booed of the pitch when he was substituted in the 62nd minute of the match, we ask the question whether the player deserves the criticism that has been aimed at him in recent weeks.
The best way to do this is to look at Joey Barton’s performances this season and compare them to other players in the Premier League that play in the same position. As ball winning, ball distribution and ball retention are the key aspects of being a good centre midfielder these are the areas we will be looking at.
The first comparison that we have carried out is between Joey Barton and midfielders from the top four teams that play in the same position. This is to see how he compares to players in teams that are doing well.
The main findings of this comparison are that Joey Barton compares quite well in most fields with the players from the top four teams. The main areas where Barton comes out on top is winning ground 50-50’s and winning the highest percentage of the tackles that he makes. Barton has won 9 more ground 50-50’s than his nearest rival Parker and an astonishing 142 ground 50-50’s than Michael Carrick. He has also won 2.92% more of his tackles than Scott Parker and 3.97% more than Michael Carrick.
Barton also scores highly on goals scored, assists and successful dribbles per game. Barton has 2 goals this season which is only one less than Aaron Ramsey and two more than Scott Parker. He also only is one assist behind Aaron Ramsey, which is good going as Ramsey plays in a free scoring team.
The main area where Joey Barton lets himself down though compared to the other midfielders is his pass completion percentage. Barton’s passes find the other player only 68.03% of the time which is an astonishing 17.62% below his nearest competitor Aaron Ramsey.
Next Page: Barton compared to players in bottom four…
Joey Barton’s statistics were then compared with players from the other teams in the bottom four to see how he is comparing to players in the teams around QPR.
Barton fared better in this comparison, but the same main points came up again when analysing the statistics.
He is still the most successful player in the whole comparison in winning ground 50-50’s as he has made at least 20 more than his nearest rival Reo-Coker and 139 more than Henry of Wolves, which shows this is probably the strongest part of Barton’s game.
Joey Barton also made more tackles than anyone else but was less successful than the others in this comparison in his tackle success rate. He has made 42 more tackles than Henry this season which is quite a lot seeing though both players are tough tackling midfielders. Although his tackle percentage is below his competitors he only has a 2.23% less success rate than McCarthy who scored the highest.
Barton again falls short in the terms of successful passes to his teammates as he is a whopping 15.15% behind his closest rival Reo-Coker and 18.29% behind McCarthy who scored highest in this comparison.
With these results it is hard to criticise Barton on most aspects of his game as he scores highly against the players that play for the teams around him and for the players that play for teams in the top four. He is the most successful player in winning ground 50-50’s, scores very highly in his tackling percentage and has two goals and three assists to his name this season which is equal to or better than any of the players that play for teams around him.
The only criticism I can lay at Barton’s door is his successful passing percentage, which is way below any other player in this comparison. This is a worrying fact seeing though he sees a lot of the ball and losing possession heaps more pressure on his teammates and with QPR’s run in he just cannot afford to do this.
If he can improve his passing percentage in the upcoming games then QPR fans can have no objections with his performances. As he compares very well in all other aspects of his game with the other players in this comparison.
Therefore, I can see where QPR fans are coming from with the criticism of their captain but I am a firm believer of getting behind my team when times get tough. So maybe, just maybe if the fans get behind Barton and his teammates they may just stand a chance of staying in the division.
All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.