Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Can Ivan Rakitic find his form in a Barcelona shirt again?

Crippy Cooke in Editorial, La Liga 18 Nov 2015

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Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic hasn’t hit the heights of last season so far.

Barcelona midfield Ivan Rakitic hasn’t been at his creative best this season, with the Croatian international struggling to threaten in the final third for the Catalans. He’s retain possession in the middle of the park, and having a lot of touches on the ball, but just isn’t affecting games going forward. Rakitic has delivered a number of poor performances in La Liga this campaign, and could find himself out of the side until he can get back to his best.

Is he suffering from fatigue?

The 27-year-old has only just resumed full training following a calf injury that saw him miss Barcelona’s last league game against Villarreal in early November, and an instant return to the starting eleven may not be on the cards given his struggles in the side of late. While enjoying a near-perfect debut season at the Nou Camp, playing a key role as Barcelona won the treble (La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Champions League), but the Croat looks to have burnt out.

He’s failed to score or make an assist in the midfield this season, and could find his place in the side taken up by Sergi Roberto or Javier Mascherano for a number of games to come. Despite delivering a number of anonymous performances for Barcelona, Rakitic remained a regular in the side until his injury, but could now be missing Saturday’s El Clasico with fierce rivals Real Madrid.

Place in the side now not guaranteed

Rakitic’s poor form has been hard to explain, as effort levels never waver with the midfielder, but things just aren’t coming off for him with Barcelona this season. He did shine on a trip to Belarus against BATE Borisov in the Champions League last month, scoring a brace for his troubles, but hasn’t come close to replicating such performances. He was wasteful on the ball against Eibar at the end of October, and followed a miserable showing with a below-par creative display against Getafe.

The 27-year-old is still playing his part in doing defensive work, but doesn’t seem to be the one setting up clear-cut goalscoring opportunities on a regular basis like he was last season. Barcelona’s title-winning campaign was due in large part to Rakitic’s involvement. He left the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi in the shade in 2014/15, setting up chance after chance for the infamous South American attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, but is ensuring a hard time of late.

He could make the squad for Barcelona’s weekend El Clasico, but can Ivan Rakitic find his form again for the Catalans?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crippy Cooke


Crippy Cooke has somehow written for the Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London24 and Bleacher Report among others, despite knowing less about football than your average Fan TV member . The weekly accumulator enthusiast is saving up his winnings to pay for a much-needed hair transplant but grows more on his chin than his head. He lives and breathes football and somehow makes a living writing from it.

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