Joey Barton

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Barton Remains Top Performer as Marseille Season Slips

Joey Barton continued his impressive run of form in the heart of Marseille’s midfield last weekend as Les Phocéens earned a vital point away at Lyon to keep their title hopes alive.

Barton has bucked the Marseilles trend in recent weeks, playing some of his best football this season while the club suffer a slump in form. The midfielder was integral to Marseille’s 2-1 victory over Troyes at the start of March and dominated the middle third at the Velodrome on Sunday.

Indeed, Betfair football pundits are trying to pinpoint why Barton’s game has improved recently and many put it down to the red card he was given in early February.

It was his first dismissal of the season against Valenciennes and the majority of Ligue 1 betting fans agree the referee was rather harsh to send him off for a second bookable offense.

Rather than react to the injustice by finding himself on the end of another red this spring, however, the 30-year-old has been professional in his comeback from suspension.

His game has changed since leaving QPR in the summer and he now plays a far less dramatic style of football, working the ball well and containing opposition midfielders. He is far less likely to get involved with a contentious challenge and in turn doesn’t give referees a chance to red card him.

It is still unclear whether or not Barton will stay at Marseille past this summer but should he come back to the Premier League he’ll be a much-changed man

For what it’s worth, maybe staying in France is best for his career: his game has improved since being out of the British media glare and, with these recent performances proving he can hack it at Ligue 1 level, Marseilles may just be tempted to sign him up permanently.

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