West Bromwich Albion head into the second international break of the season occupying top spot in the Sky Bet Championship table.
The Baggies have made a hugely impressive start to the season under Slaven Bilic, and picked up their sixth league win of the season at the weekend with a massive 4-2 victory over Cardiff City.
Charlie Austin, Matheus Pereira and Romaine Sawyers helped Albion pick up yet another three points, with Grady Diangana also getting on the scoresheet once again.
The West Ham United loanee has endured a extremely positive start to life at The Hawthorns since arriving on loan from the London Stadium.
Plenty of goals have come from Albion’s midfield this season, and with Charlie Austin also getting off the mark in the league at the weekend, you would expect him to keep on scoring too.
Unlike last season, practically all of Albion’s goals from their strike duo Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle, and they missed Harvey Barnes after he was recalled by Leicester City in January.
So how do Barnes and Diangana compare? Can the latter surpass the former and record better statistics this season? Here, we take a look at their stats and compare…
Barnes was undoubtedly West Brom’s standout performer under Darren Moore in the first half of last season, and they really did miss him when the Foxes recalled him.
Barnes, compared to Diangana, operated as a number 10 for large parts of last season, with the Baggies deploying a 3-4-1-2 system which saw the midfielder sit in the hole behind Rodriguez and Gayle.
Diangana, meanwhile, plays on the left of a 4-2-3-1 system, with Matty Phillips and Pereira tending to rotate freely.
Last season, in a total of 26 league appearances for the Albion, Barnes scored nine goals and registered seven assists. Those goals came from a total of 82 shots on target, and the Leicester youngster also accrued a pass success rate of 77.5%.
His role wasn’t necessarily to pick the ball up and coast past players – it was more focused upon picking up pockets of space, and supplying Rodriguez and Gayle with adequate service.
In terms of Diangana – the 21-year-old is well on course to record better statistics than Barnes. In nine Championship games, he has already scored four goals and produced three assists for Albion.
His pass success is very marginally better than Barnes’, but that could well charge once he plays more and more.
Diangana’s role is to stay wide, find space, and exploit opposition defenders with his pace and power on the ball, hence why he has already completed 62 successful dribbles, a third of what Barnes managed.
He hasn’t pulled off as many shots on target as Barnes did, registering just 16 shots on target in his first nine games, but his link-up play and end product has been hugely impressive thus far.
If they can keep him injury-free, then Diangana could be one of the best players Albion have had in recent times.