Barça de Quique Setién have been reduced to Barça by Leo Messi. If Messi does not appear, the team does not win. An excess of responsibility for a footballer who, despite being the club’s franchise player, may not always be decisive. At the Bernabeu the Argentine had two good chances, but he lacked a speed and precision tip to beat Courtois. And his companions did not appear in the rescue either. Barça’s options in the league and in Europe depend on the success of Messi, who has directly or indirectly participated in 67% of the goals since Quique Setién is on the bench. But the most worrying thing is what happened when he did not score or did not attend: the team was unable to win. It happened against Real Madrid (2-0), but also in Valencia (2-0), Bilbao (1-0) and Naples (1-1). The only win without Messi was in the sixteenth Cup, in Ibiza (1-2). That day Messi was not called up and the azulgranas got the victory at the discount time.
These are not easy days at Camp Nou, which are still experiencing the defeat of the classic. A game in which Madrid had control in the first half but did not know how to transform that superiority into goals. In the restart, when the whites took a step forward, Barça became disoriented. But beyond winning or losing, what matters most to Barça is the lack of goals. If Messi does not score, it seems that no one can do it. “We are going through a process of change and it is not easy, because we came from an age, with Ernesto Valverde, where we played in one way, and now the coach asks us to do another”. ‘in an interview with Sports World.
The 10th Barça player has always been decisive, but with Setién its responsibility has been accentuated in the proper functioning of the collective. They are two processes in parallel. One is the change that Messi explains: to take the mechanisms proposed by the new coach. The other is that the competition does not stop and Barça are forced to win the games to keep the goals alive. This is where Messi takes center stage. In a Barça without the injured Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembélé, only four are left in attack. Three of the first team, the same Messi, Antoine Griezmann and the recently signed Martin Braithwaite, and Ansu Fati, of the B – although in dynamics of the first team from the beginning of the course.
With Setién, Messi has participated in 67% of Barça’s goals
Until the change of coach, Messi had participated in 26 of 60 goals scored by the team. That is, 43%, the equivalent of 17 goals and 9 assists. The percentage soared to 67% in the eleven subsequent games. He has participated in 14 of the 21 total goals (7 goals and 7 assists). And that with Setién Messi plays more late than before, helping in the construction area. “We do different things now. The most notable thing is the exit from the ball, a big change, which carries more risks but serves to start well,” Messi said in an interview, which also spoke about other aspects such as pressure. to the opponent after losing a ball. Processes that, as he acknowledges, need to be “assimilated” but have an immediate effect: now he has to travel more meters to get closer to the goal. On Sunday, the classic saw some examples.
A Barça with less goal
The team especially misses Luis Suárez, who in the 23 games he played before the injury – 1,756 minutes – participated in 25 goals, with 14 goals and 11 assists. That is, more than one per game, according to Transfermarkt. Griezmann, signed for the summer of € 120 million, is still in the process of adaptation and has yet to deliver the expected performance. Although not a striker center forward, but rather a striker, the team is missing more involvement in completing plays. Griezmann has played 36 games, 2,866 minutes and has participated in 18 goals (14 goals and 4 assists). On the other hand, Ansu Fati, who was 17 years old in October, is in the process of training and for the moment he is not a permanent fixture in the starting team. However, he has played 23 games, accumulated 1,007 minutes and contributed six goals (five transformed for him and one assist). Finally, Braithwaite, despite playing only a couple of games off the bench, has been able to take two assists.
Any comparison to Messi is devastating, because the Argentinian has played 30 of 37 possible games this season (2,550 minutes) and has scored more goals than anyone else: 39 (23 goals and 16 assists). But Messi is human, although in recent years it may have seemed the opposite. The Argentine may not always be right in front of goal. Although not always involved in the pressure, his game is based on short and intense efforts. He says he is OK despite the club talking about discomfort, not serious but limiting his ability to be decisive. Especially in a context where the schedule does not give up and has to play almost every possible minute. Be it better or worse, this Barça is Messi and ten more.