This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Lionel Messi is still very much waiting on his debut in the new 2019/20 La Liga season and if the recent reports are to be believed, he’ll have to wait a bit longer than expected. But, despite that not being the greatest of news for Barcelona, there’s still a silver lining in that story.
Of course, when Messi is injured, alarms are sure to be ringing in the Catalan capital. Barcelona depending on their little Argentine wizard is not really anything particularly new. The term “Messidependencia” is very much still a thing back in Spain and it basically supports the thesis that Barcelona are simply a far worse team without their talisman.
And when talking about someone of Messi’s pedigree and reputation, it’s difficult to see how any team wouldn’t miss such a huge influence on the pitch – this is, after all, a multi-time Ballon d’Or winner we’re talking about. But Barcelona of all teams should be well equipped for such emergencies and looking at their squad, they definitely are.
There must be something in the air in Spain since both Real Madrid and Barcelona are suffering from the same injury woes. The Catalans have four players sidelined, three of whom are important players. Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele – who provided 29 La Liga goals last season – are also still unavailable and with Messi joining the fold, Barcelona might be forced to put some faith into their younger players and newcomers who are dying to get a piece of the action.
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The tactical adjustment Ernesto Valverde will have to do is something the club as a whole have to bear in mind for the not so distant future, when the likes of Messi and Suarez won’t be around to help them out in sticky situations.
And without those key big guns on the pitch, the team will have to find their groove and utilise every single asset they can in order to pull through. Luckily for them, they have numerous players waiting in line such as Carles Perez and Ansu Fati from La Masia, both of whom were present in Barcelona’s impressive victory over Real Betis last weekend.
The injury to Messi just might force Valverde to experiment a bit and give a chance to some of the other players he still has available. Not only that but the big-money signings like Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong have been brought in for this very cause: strengthening the team and banking for the future.
This might be an alarming situation for Barcelona but they should still be more than capable of dealing with it properly. If anything, it just might force them to get that taste of how things might look like without Messi and force them to act as a team rather than a one-man army. In many ways, this just might be their blessing in disguise.