5 Bold Predictions for Joey Barton's 2013-14 Season at Marseille
Joey Barton's loan move to Marseille raised a few eyebrows last season, but there can be no denying that the QPR man made an impression in his time at the Stade Velodrome.
Yet, despite performing well for the majority of the campaign, Marseille have yet to make a permanent move for the midfielder.
Still, after becoming a firm fan favorite in Provence, a full-time move to the Velodrome cannot be ruled out for the former Newcastle man.
Barton exceeded expectations at Marseille last term, but, for what we can expect to see if the 30-year-old does spend a second season with the club, here are five bold predictions for Barton's prospective sophomore campaign.
Barton will not be sent-off
As he was never a great ally of referees, Barton's career has been one underlined by disciplinary problems. However, in his time at Marseille, he was sent-off just once, for a second bookable offence in a defeat to Nancy, and showed more composure than he has in the past.
If Barton's growing maturity on the football field continues in the less-pressurized environment of Ligue 1, then it is difficult to picture him being given his marching orders at any point next term.
He will score a league goal
Barton was deployed in a slightly more withdrawn role in the Marseille midfield last season, and therefore was unable to find the net in the league in his first campaign in France, although he did score in the Europa League.
The ex-Manchester City man has never been a regular goalscorer, but he has a penchant for scoring from range and his determination to get forward can never be completely deterred.
He performed admirably as a defensive midfielder in 2012-13, but in 2013-14, Barton will surely be looking to get his name on the scoresheet at least once.
He will provide at least five assists
Barton, despite showing composure in retaining possession and distributing the ball well, struggled to create goalscoring chances for teammates last season.
Much will depend on where manager Elie Baup chooses to place Barton in the midfield should he return to the club, but with his ability from set-pieces and range of passing, there is no doubt that Barton has the ability to replicate his 2010-11 showing for Newcastle, when he contributed nine assists.
Talk of an England call-up will surface
Barton has won just one cap for England in his career, which came in 2007 during a friendly with Spain, and has never really looked like adding to that number.
However, with Roy Hodgson's men delivering one mediocre performance after another, Barton could be linked with a call-up if he performs well in both Ligue 1 and the Champions League.
He will win a trophy
Marseille failed to win any silverware last season, but with a strong, compact squad filled with talent, they certainly have the tools to ensure that 2013-14 is not another barren year.
Barton won the Championship title with Newcastle in 2009-10, but has been unable to win any major trophies.
That could all change if he comes back to the Velodrome. Marseille may not be able to challenge for the league crown next term, but the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue are certainly well within their grasp. Barton will no doubt be eager to try and taste success in the French domestic game.
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