People are so used to see Barcelona win every match, that every loss, not to mention consecutive defeats, is a source for talks about crisis and falling apart. Like it or not, the Lionel Messi injury is something extremely difficult to deal with, even for a team filled with game changers like Barcelona. Neymar isn’t the kind of player who does things on his own, and that means Gerardo Martino needs to find real tactical answers before the situation gets out of hand.
Crisis? No. Problem? Yes. Two consecutive losses is simply something we hardly see from Barcelona in its current era, if this is still the same era we’re speaking of. It’s hard to say that Atheltic Bilbao overwhelmed Barcelona. There wasn’t anything special in the way they closed down Neymar, Iniesta, Xavi and Fabregas. It was quite special that Barcelona are forced to look for Sergio Busquets to get everything moving. While it does show Martino trusts the defensive midfielder to do more than he ever has before, he’s not the man that will get them out of tough stretches with vision, passing and goals.
There seem to be too many minutes of helplessness for Barcelona. What does it mean? When players don’t seem to know where they should be and what they should do. Lionel Messi has been out plenty of matches over the last eight months, but there still seems to be this sense of despair when he’s not on, like a person who is so used to do things with his right hand and not really realizing that it’s not there.
The eyes turn to Neymar, but that’s not where the answer should be. The Brazilian is a wonderful player, but he’s not Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo, especially not the way Barcelona play. The secret to making it out of this situation is somehow kicking Xavi and Iniesta back into life instead of the tired and apathetic figures we’ve seen this past week, resulting in the loss of their lead in the La Liga, and could end up actually being a crisis that will force Messi to come back sooner than he wanted to.