Cracks Begin To Show “No Messi, No Party” 0

The headlines everywhere in the football world has been “Barcelona in crisis.”  Suffering their first two defeats in the season all the way at the end of November is what people call a “crisis” these days?

In my books that part is not the crisis, perhaps what the “crisis” could be is the fact that the mask that covered up the issues that people suspected, is finally cracking and revealing the weaknesses of Barça. The team have started off the season extremely well, suffering their first defeat to a well organized and resilient Athletic Bilbao, who have remained undefeated in their new San Mamès Stadium. With Injuries to Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, Carles Puyol, Victor Valdes and Lionel Messi, the Catalans have finally started showing signs of weakness and issues that need to be addressed.


“No Messi, no party.”

Lionel Messi is arguably the best player in the world, as well as the best player of all time, and his absence is greatly felt. Barcelona have been able to win without the little man yes, some games comfortably, and then others they scrape by with a win. Having Messi on the field changes the whole dynamic of the game, it boosts the confidence of the whole team and gives them relief that if they can’t get the job done he surely will pull through. Messi also effects the other teams tactics, meaning the opposition tends to focus on Messi giving other players more freedom and time on the ball to work their magic. Without Messi it is clearly noticeable that the oppositions respect for Barcelona dwindles and they tend to press a lot higher, giving the Barça players less time and space than they are used to. Indeed they are amazingly talented at their triangles and getting out of sticky situations, but lately if a team does this throughout the match, Barça end up cracking under the pressure and are punished.

Without Messi, Barça sticking to their 4-3-3(false 9) formation have struggled to find anyone suitable to fill that role. Fabregas has played there in the previous seasons for Barça and Spain National Team and had a few good showings, but that would be about 25% of the time that he has played in that position, no fault of Fabregas as this is not his natural, comfortable position to play,and the shoes he is trying to fill realistically cannot be filled. Alexis has done semi-well in that position, but at times still looks lost, and Neymar has the quick feet and the understanding of the position, but he cannot compete and dominate physically as Messi does, and perhaps does not have the maturity for it as yet as we saw his retaliation to a Bilbao player in the most recent game.

What are the other options that Martino can look to? Perhaps try Alexis in that false 9 role more often? Give Iniesta a shot at the role and move Cesc back into the midfield? Not many options within the Barça squad when it comes to filling the hole that is “Lionel Messi.”

This is 1 of the major cracks that Tata must address, and address is quickly as performances need to be stepped up a notch. Perhaps in the January transfer market some lines may be put out to reel in a CF/ST to bring into the squad to fix this problem, definitely would not be a bad idea, but who??