A Sit Down with John Barnes – 9th July 2020 – Premier League Tips

After many surprising results in the Premier League over the last week, we’ve spoken to BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The former England and Liverpool midfielder shared his thoughts on the recent rumours concerning Thiago Alcantara joining Liverpool, Manchester United’s recent resurgence, and Jamie Vardy entering the lucrative Premier League 100 club.

John Barnes Exclusive: Thiago would need to adapt Liverpool’s style of play off the ball, otherwise it would be like having Coutinho back

“Thiago Alcantara is a great player. If he is to come to Liverpool, he will evolve in the way they’re going to play. If he was to be one of the three starting midfield players, he would be the more technical and attacking-minded than any of them, that will be great. In terms of creativity, being on the ball and keeping hold of the ball, he is one of the best. Out of possession however, he’s obviously not going to be as dynamic as our current three midfield players. But that’s the way we’re going to play him, if he comes in, he will certainly play regularly for sure.john barnes
“There’s a problem nowadays with people criticising Liverpool, and what has been thrown at us is that we have a lack of creativity in midfield. What I’ve always said is that with a lack of creativity in midfield, you lean more on your forward players. Liverpool are 25 points better than everybody else, but, maybe if he (Thiago) plays more regularly, he’s going to be a main player in the team, and we could lose that dynamism. That’s how I could see Thiago fitting in at Liverpool.
“As much as he’s a fabulous player, he’s not too great without the ball. It would be like having Coutinho back. As good as a player he is, he might upset the flow of the way that the team plays.
“They’re completely different to each other but they’re both very technical. Yeah, we have a lot of the ball, but without possession, these players don’t offer you much defensively, certainly not as much as the four or five midfielders that Liverpool have at the moment.”

John Barnes Exclusive: United need consistency if they are going to be contenders, they are fifth in the league…

“When Ole first started, they won their first 13 games and people said that Ole had already found his Manchester United starting team. Nowadays, it doesn’t matter about the fact that they field the same team each game, because unless they get the harmony, the togetherness, the belief and the consistency, the same thing will keep happening. We can’t get carried away with what they are doing, like people got carried away when Ole first started.
You have to look over a period of time for them to show that level of consistency and say they’ve done nothing yet and are still sitting in fifth behind Leicester. If they get consistency over a long period of time and continue to grow and learn, then maybe we can then start talking about United being title contenders.
The problem is that in football, we go too far when things go positively and negatively so quickly. When Liverpool lost to Watford, fans started saying that they needed new signings, and now that United have won a few games, fans are thinking they are ready to challenge for the title again, when that is not the case.

John Barnes Exclusive: I would rather have Liverpool’s front three than Manchester United’s front three as they are 37 points better off

Regardless of United’s front three scoring more goals this season than Liverpool’s front three, it doesn’t matter. United have been so inconsistent. If you are going to score goals or concede them, the most important thing is the points tally, and Liverpool are over 37 points better off than United, so it doesn’t matter how many they score between them. Football is a team game and is not about the individuals, Manchester United may have very good individuals, but Liverpool have got the best team, which I would much prefer to have over the Manchester United players.

John Barnes Exclusive: Firmino not scoring a home goal in over a year is not an issue for me

Firmino has been a part of a squad that has lost two games in over a year. Yes, he hasn’t scored a goal at home, but he has still been one of the main players in a team that is on top of the Premier League by 25 points. For me, he is one of our most important players from an attacking perspective, so I have not got an issue with him not scoring a home goal, because it is a team game, and he is very influential in that aspect.
He is not a Robert Lewandowski in the fact that he is an out and out striker, but with the way he plays in a system that has benefited Liverpool so much, means he is the one to drop deeper to provide the assists for Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane to score the goals.

John Barnes Exclusive: If Jamie Vardy was at Manchester City, he wouldn’t have scored the goals that he has done in the Premier League

“For top strikers, they need to find a team that suits them in the way that they like to play. I personally don’t think that Jamie Vardy would have scored those goals at Manchester City or Arsenal, he understands that the way Leicester play and that suits him perfectly. I say that about every player in every position; to score goals you don’t necessarily have to play at the top teams. For any player in any position on the pitch, you have to find the football that suits them the best.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Mikel Arteta showing he has the power is a good thing for Arsenal

“With any team in football, it needs to be known that the manager is the one in charge and making the decisions. When a manager makes a decision and tells the player what to do, the players must follow it, like what is happening at Arsenal with Matteo Guendouzi. The only two teams who really have this in place in the Premier League is Liverpool and Manchester City, who conveniently happen to be the best two sides in the country.
If you look at situations like Mourinho at Manchester United, Wenger at Arsenal or Conte at Chelsea, the players always had more power, which if that happens, is a recipe for disaster. It is a good sign for the club and Arteta but as long as the club back the manager to do so.”

John Barnes Exclusive: I would like to see Matteo Guendouzi play for Arsenal again

“I would like to see Matteo Guendouzi play in an Arsenal shirt again as I like him and think he is a good player, but you never know what is happening internally at Arsenal and what Arteta and the owners are saying to him and his agent.”

John Barnes Exclusive: The reason for an academy is to build the £100m players, rather than buying players them

When you have good young players as Manchester United have shown with Mason Greenwood and some of the players they have, and as we’ve shown with Trent Alexander-Arnold and now Harvey Elliot that is exactly what you want. You want to be able to develop the young players in a way that suits the club, which then they can learn the culture of the club and how the club plays its football.
Therefore, long term they will be able to do what you want, not to say that signing a new contract means he’s going to be in the first team regularly or even play regularly. But you want to have the best players at a younger age as that is the whole point of an academy system. You would prefer to have academy players to build them into £100m players, rather than buying players for £100m.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Both Tottenham and Arsenal have been inconsistent, so it is hard to predict ahead of the North London Derby

“Years ago, when people would ask for predictions ahead of the North London Derby, people would usually go for the team who is going into the game in better form. However, at this current moment, both sides are not playing well and are both being inconsistent, so it is hard to tell for the game this weekend. For Tottenham, they got a good win against Everton this week, and Arsenal got a good result against Wolves, but with all derbies, form goes out the window, so we will have to see what team turns up on the day.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Joe Hart won’t come under much pressure playing for Celtic, it’s a good move for him

“I think Joe Hart going to Celtic would be a great move for him and for the club. Goalkeepers can continue playing for a lot longer than outfield players, which helps in this situation. Joe Hart is an experienced player, who loves his football, is hungry to keep playing at a top level and is still relatively young. Going up to Scotland, where he won’t come under much pressure whilst playing for Celtic, will be a good move for him and I am sure is somewhere that he could do well at.

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