The 32-year-old is proving crucial to the Rs' fortunes.
Love him or loathe him, everyone has an opinion on Joey Barton.
The Queens Park Rangers midfielder's outspoken nature guarantees as much.
But, if there is one thing Barton is proving this season, it is that he is doing a considerable amount of his talking on the pitch these days.
Indeed, the 32-year-old has shone in several key areas for QPR so far this term. If you think that's welcome news, though, one look at how the Rs coped without Barton at Manchester United will soon sour the mood.
|Team||Pos||Chances Created||Accurate Passes||Successful Final-Third Passes||Tackles Won||Interceptions Won||Apps||Mins|
Focusing on Barton, Opta stats show that the midfielder has created twice as many chances as his nearest competitor Leroy Fer (while only a couple of players have created more in the whole of the Premier League). And, in terms of completed passes, Barton is also a cut above - just as he is with his final-third passes, too.
Defensively, the 32-year-old also makes the grade, having made the second-highest amount of tackles within the QPR side (Rio Ferdinand has more) and also won five interceptions.
But, as stated, the worry is just how lacking the west London side are in midfield without Barton. Against Manchester United, that much was evident - but it wasn't just at Old Trafford.
In terms of chances created, accurate passes and final-third passes in all four of QPR's opening Premier League games, no one really comes near the experienced midfielder. It begs the question: what does Harry Redknapp do if Barton gets a long-term injury?
While it's so far, so good for Joey Barton, then, the rest of the QPR squad need to pull their socks up. Considerably.