Lionel Messi has not played for Barcelona yet this season and he is set to be out for much longer than first expected due to his calf injury.
Barcelona Will Have to Cope Without Messi
It appears like the calf injury that has kept Lionel Messi on the sidelines is worse than anticipated. It was thought that he might be back before the international break but he reported that he was still feeling a problem with his leg. Messi has been out of action for quite sometime with many around Barcelona believing that he is still at least a few weeks away from being fit.
The dependency that Barcelona have on Lionel Messi is obvious for those that have watched this club over the past few seasons. It’s probably one of the main reasons they chose to get involved in the Neymar saga. Say what you will about the troublesome Brazilian, but when he was around they didn’t need Messi to do everything. In fact, when Messi went down with injury, that was probably Neymar’s best spell at Barcelona.
Although Luis Suarez has always provided Messi with great support, he has never shown the ability to put he club on his back. On top of that he is showing signs of decline in the last couple of seasons.
Suarez and Griezmann in Attack
Although Suarez may not be the player he once was, he is still crucial to Barcelona’s success. Even more so with Messi out injured. Suarez too has been battling injury problems although it has been reported that he will be fit for this weekend’s match against Valencia. This is a crucial game even though it’s still early in the season. One look at their record after three matches and the Lionel Messi dependency becomes even more obvious.
Barcelona only have four points after three matches played and already trail Atletico Madrid by five points. Dropping points against Valencia will only make life harder for themselves. At the same time, the pressure of this supposed “Messi dependency” will only grow on the rest of the squad.
Against Valencia it will be Antoine Griezmann that leads the line along side Luis Suarez. It remains to be seen what formation Ernesto Valverde will use but part of their slow start has been blamed on the often maligned head coach.
Ernesto Valverde Better Get HIs Tactics Right
One of the reasons critics have focused their attention on Ernesto Valverde is because of his tactical choices. He has chosen to play Griezmann out on the left which is a position he has not played for a few years now. It’s impossible that Valverde wouldn’t know this so it seems odd that he would play him out of position on purpose.
Barcelona fans always seem to be questioning Valverde’s tactics so this is nothing new. What would be new for him is picking up results without Lionel Messi in the lineup. It’s unfair to say Valverde can’t win without Messi but until he proves it, this will of course be the narrative. This slow start to the season certainly isn’t helping. Most people didn’t think Barcelona would bring Valverde back in the summer. If he doesn’t start getting results, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was gone before Lionel Messi comes back.
Michael Cox As an avid sports fan for his whole life, Michael regularly contributes to the content here at Vegas Odds across all the sports categories. He attends major sports events to provide coverage so our readers always get the latest updates. Michael’s 10+ years of experience in writing for high profile sports and gaming media outlets provides our articles here with a strong competitive edge.