Is Bernard good enough? It is a question that will cause a bit of a hoo-hah, but I feel it needs some discussion and debate.
I look at our set-up and compare what we have to what Man City and Liverpool have in those wide positions. I look on with envy at the productivity of their wide men and then look at Bernard’s return in comparison.
It is incredibly difficult to find the heart to criticise the little fellow; it is a rare treat to watch a player in our blue shirt with such skill and confidence on the ball – someone who is improving from his acclimatization to the Premier League. On top of that, he is a player who has improved the defensive side of his game markedly in the last few months. He plays well with Digne and can feed Digne balls to cross with his composure on the ball. It is clear he contributes to the team.
His stats, though, are plainly not good enough. 34 games: 1 goal & 3 assists.
Man City have Sane and Sterling:
- Sane — 31 games: 10 goals & 10 assists
- Sterling – 34 games: 17 goals & 10 assists
Liverpool have Mane and Salah
- Mane – 36 games: 22 goals & 1 assist
- Salah – 38 games: 22 goals & 8 assists
I know systems and roles can be different but the undercurrent is there: Bernard has to be more productive... there has to be more end product. To get into the top 4 or 6, we need more from him — a lot more. Dominic Calvert-Lewin comes in for a lot of stick for his lack of goals, but the sublimely skilled Bernard seems to be teflon- coated because he is so easy on the eye. I have confidence that he can do more; Silva will be all over him to find more end product.
With his incremental improvement over the last few months, I am backing him to push on and have a great season. Goals and assists from Bernard will take us further up the table; it is a big season coming up for him. Another 1-goal season will not be tolerated... a player of his quality should be looking for 10 at least.