We saw a very interesting comment on our social channels pertaining to our criticism and 5 rating of Brandon Barker.
The gentleman said:
This got some support, so we decided to investigate Barker’s contribution properly, and the best part of that is to track his movement and compare the effectiveness of his marking target.
According to the chap, Barker tracked Diego Laxalt and stopped him, so let’s have a look first at the on-loan Milan player’s match:
Diego Laxalt managed 8 crosses, the highest on the pitch, and two of them were accurate. No one was more effective, even including our own fullbacks, for crossing. He managed 3 long balls, of which 2 were on the money.
So, Barker’s impact on Laxalt is already starting to look negligible.
But let’s look at the heat maps for both players. According to the chap, Laxalt should be mostly in his own half and Barker should be mostly up the pitch on his side blocking or tracking him.
Not really, according to these, Laxalt was heavily in our half, and Barker was frankly all over the place, not disciplined to any one slot and not tracking anyone.
We didn’t see the display the chap was on about, and the majority did not either.
Gerrard also did not which is why he removed him after 61 minutes.
The truth is, Barker flopped yesterday, and the confidence was absent again. He did absolutely nothing on the ball, and was ineffective off the ball too. In fact no one was less effective marking their man or for their defensive duties in our shirt than Barker was. His stats defensively were pretty modest to say the least. Only Steven Davis was statistically comparable and his job is not defending at all.
What now for him? We don’t know. We’ve seen bad performances in the past, and players come back from those, but Barker seems a player who is very very up and down.
His big advantage is Stevie absolutely prefers him to Jordan Jones, so he is likely to get more chances.
It’s up to him to leave this one behind and prove what he’s made of.