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Exclusive: John Barnes Talks All Things Premier League

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We recently caught up with former Liverpool winger John Barnes to discuss a range of Premier League topics during the international break. Barnes shared his thoughts on the recent form of midfielder Cole Palmer and Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke. He also touched on Mason Mount’s slow start to the season with Manchester United and rumours linking Douglas Luiz with a move to Arsenal.

In this article:

  • Chelsea’s shining light Cole Palmer
  • Solanke wasn’t given an opportunity at Chelsea and Liverpool
  • Bowen one of the league’s best attackers
  • Lack Of A United Identity Holding Mount Back
  • Luiz would be a great Arsenal signing

Chelsea’s Shining Light Cole Palmer

When Cole Palmer made a summer deadline move from his boyhood club Manchester City to join Chelsea, many were left confused by the move. However, it has proven to be a masterstroke for both club and player alike. Palmer has added a sense of calm on the ball for Chelsea through his mastery of the ball and decision-making, a skillset he would have honed at City. He has also scored four times already for the Blues, albeit from the penalty spot.

“It was a fantastic performance and a brave performance from Chelsea. You talk about playing against Man City and you talk about defending because you don’t want to overextend yourself in attack too much as they can carve you open. Chelsea decided to do that and that isn’t necessarily the right way to play against City because they conceded four goals but if you have the attacking threat that Chelsea had, you can see they also caused Man City problems.

“So, from an attacking perspective, Cole Palmer was great and he worked hard for the team. It was a great game, it reminded me of the Newcastle-Liverpool 4-4 draw whereby every time someone attacked it looked like they would score and it was a very open game. So if you’re a player like Raheem Sterling or Cole Palmer, games like that will suit you. If you’re a defender or a defensive midfielder you don’t want games like that.”

Chelsea haven’t had the start they would have hoped for in the Premier League so far, and they’re priced at 5/1 on bet365 to finish in the top-four this season, which seems a tough ask for Mauricio Pochettino’s side. Be sure to use the bet365 bonus code when signing up with this operator, as they have a great sign-up offer for new customers, which offers a sizeable amount in free bets.

Solanke Wasn’t Given An Opportunity At Chelsea And Liverpool

Reports indicate that West Ham are interested in signing Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke. The forward, who has scored six goals in 12 games this season for Bournemouth, appears to have found his footing as a Premier League striker. David Moyes, known to be a long-term admirer of the former Liverpool and Chelsea player, saw a £40 million bid rejected by The Cherries this summer, but that hasn’t deterred the Hammers from considering a renewed bid. Barnes has noted that the pressure of proving himself at Chelsea and Liverpool was significant, but he praises Solanke’s perseverance.

“I don’t think Solanke was of the level to be the main striker at Liverpool after his move from Chelsea even if that’s what he was striving for.

“He wasn’t given an opportunity to show what he can do and maybe it wasn’t his level at the time. He’s shown now that he can be a good Premier League striker where he will be the main man and he’s showing what he can do.

“The pressure of having to do that at Liverpool and Chelsea at that young age was probably too much for him. Now that he’s settled that he can be a very good Premier League player in a team that’s surviving in the league, he’s playing with confidence and showing what he can do.”

Bowen One Of The League’s Best Attackers

The goalscoring form of West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen has been one of the bright spots of their season so far. Bowen has been exceptional for West Ham, with nine goals and three assists. However, a knee injury sustained during international duty with England led to concerns about a long-term setback. Such an injury could have significantly derailed West Ham’s season. Fortunately, his release from the England camp is thought to have been precautionary, and Bowen is not expected to miss any games for the Hammers. Barnes has lavished praise on Bowen, acknowledging him as one of the league’s best attackers in the last two seasons.

“Bowen has continued from where he left off last season. He was one of the few bright sparks from last season alongside Declan Rice when they were inconsistent but he played consistently well.

“He scored goals, created chances, was very dynamic and gives 100% all the time so he’s been a great signing for West Ham and has just continued from where he left off last season.

“The difference this season is West Ham have improved and gone back to a way of playing that suits David Moyes. He’s been one of the best attacking players in the league in the last two years. He’s been sensational for West Ham.”

Lack Of A United Identity Holding Mount Back

In Manchester, midfielder Mason Mount has experienced a slow and challenging start at United. So far, he has failed to score for United and has just a single assist, which came in the Carabao Cup. Much was expected of the number 7, especially with the opportunity for a fresh start at Old Trafford. However, it’s been a tough start to the season for United, which could partly explain Mount’s struggles. Barnes suggests that the lack of a clear identity at the club might be a factor in why Mount has not hit the ground running.

“Manchester United don’t have any patterns in terms of the way they want to play. Fernandes currently plays in the ten role which Mount likes to play in so is Mount an eight or one of the three midfield players? Is he a ten? Is he a wide player? They have to find a role that suits him and the balance of the team. He had a role and system that suits him at Chelsea.

“He’s still a good player. He’s the same player but they have to find a position for him and explain to him what’s required from him. United are going through a difficult period which is affecting their players like Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.

“He’s a young player going into an inconsistent team and we don’t know how they’re going to play one week to the next. United need a philosophy, a template and way of playing and until then he will always be out of the team.”

Luiz Would Be A Great Arsenal Signing

With the ongoing challenges faced by Arsenal, particularly in the midfield due to Thomas Partey’s recurring injuries, their interest in Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz appears to be a strategic move. Luiz, having showcased his abilities in Villa’s midfield with an impressive tally of six goals, has been a key player for his team. His performances haven’t gone unnoticed, and his potential move to Arsenal is seen as a significant step in bolstering their midfield options. John Barnes, the former Liverpool winger, has weighed in on this possibility, noting Luiz’s exceptional skills on the field. According to Barnes, Luiz is not just a talented player but also one who could bring a new dynamic to Arsenal’s gameplay. His ability to control the pace of the game and his knack for finding the back of the net make him an attractive prospect for any top-tier team.

“Luiz has been great at Villa for the past couple of seasons. Not just this season. He’s a fantastic player. He can play as a six and as an eight.

“Since Arsenal signed Rice they’ve been much stronger in midfield but I still think they could be stronger with another number six of which Luiz is. It would be a great signing despite the fact Villa have ambitions to push into the top four.

“I can’t see them selling him but he would be a great signing for Arsenal.”

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