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Joey Barton v Steve Sidwell: Leeds linked midfielders compared, who comes out on top?

Joey Barton Marseille

Leeds United have been linked with Steve Sidwell as an alternative to Joey Barton.

Leeds United have been linked with midfielder Steve Sidwell as an alternative to Joey Barton, by The Sun.

Sidwell has one year left on his contract at Stoke City, while Barton was released by relegated QPR.

Leeds could do with an experienced central midfielder to add depth to their squad and relieve pressure on young guns Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook.

Here is a look at the performances in the Premier League over the past four seasons of Sidwell and Barton on a per-game basis. Barton's year in the Championship within this period has been excluded, so to compare the two against the same standard of opposition.

  PositionTeamPassing AccuracyKey Passes per gameAerial Duels Won per gameWon Tackles per gameInterceptions per gameSuccessful Final Third Passes per gameGoals per gameAssists per gameAppearancesMins Played
Joey Barton MF QPR / Newcastle 74% 1.97 1.18 1.93 1.72 11.69 0.07 0.1 61 5,204
Steve Sidwell MF Stoke / Fulham 84% 0.57 1.28 2.26 2.1 6.41 0.13 0.05 92 6,866

Barton advantages

Former QPR and Newcastle midfielder Barton comes out on top in terms of creativity. He outranks Sidwell in key passes, or chances created, per game, and comes out with an assist 1 in every 10 games, as opposed to 1 in every 20 like his rival.

He is more of a presence in the final third, completing almost double the number of passes he does in dangerous areas than Sidwell does.

Sidwell advantages

Ex-Arsenal trainee Steve Sidwell compares favourably to Barton in several areas. He has a pass completion rate 10% higher, and wins more headers per game on average.

Sidwell is also more prolific in terms of interceptions and tackles won, also recording a goalscoring rate double that of Barton.

Further conclusions 

If Leeds are looking for an impactful midfielder in the final third, neither Barton or Sidwell are especially reliable in front of goal.

Which player they do go for will depend not only on finances, but which type of midfielder they want. Barton is more creative but Sidwell is more adept at playing as a defensive midfielder and providing good cover for Lewis Cook. 

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