Saturday, August 15, 2020

Could Barcelona be short of attacking options?

David Nugent in Editorial, La Liga 12 Feb 2020

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The above seems a strange question when Barcelona have the great Lionel Messi in their squad. The veteran Argentinian star wins games on his own at times. When he is not scoring goals, he is creating for his teammates, as Messi produced three assists in the Blaugrana’s 3-2 win at Real Betis last weekend.

On the very rare occasions that Messi has an off day, there is a feeling that the Catalan giants lack other attacking players to make an impact.

Suarez and Dembele injuries crucial

Barcelona on paper look to have some fantastic attacking options. A squad containing Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele should be highly potent.

The problem is that Suarez and Dembele will not feature again for the Blaugrana this season due to injury. This means that they are down to Messi, Ansu and Griezmann.

Messi is Messi of course. Griezmann has not really found his top form in Catalonia yet. At Atletico, he was the star man and he has taken a while to adjust to life at Barcelona in the massive shadow of Messi. The French forward is still working hard, but he has not been prolific for the Spanish champions.

Ansu Fati has emerged as yet another potential gem from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy. The 17-year-old has caused major excitement amongst the Blaugrana fans and he has not looked out of place amongst his esteemed teammates. Ansu has scored four times in his 14 La Liga appearances.

The youngster has impressed so far during his short Barcelona career. However, it is a lot to ask of the youngster play regularly at such a high level at such a tender age. Maybe that is the reason head coach Quique Setien left the winger on the bench for the win over Betis. Like any youngster, his form is likely to suffer peaks and troughs.

Selling Carlos Perez was a surprising move

At the start of the season, both Ansu and fellow youngster Carlos Perez were featured heavily, with both Suarez and Messi sidelined through injury. Perez produced some decent displays, even if he did not set the world alight for the Blaugrana.

The 21-year-old looked like a decent player to have to come off the bench and make an impact. He maybe had a long way to go to become a regular for the Catalan giants, but he could have been an extra option considering both Dembele and Suarez are sidelined.

However, it seems that head coach Setien didn’t feel he was good enough, as the Perez left for Italian club Roma on an initial loan deal. The Giallorossi will make the deal permanent for a fee of around £11million in the summer.

Surely it would have been better to keep hold of Perez for the rest of the season? Then he could have left in the summer with Barcelona then having the chance to strengthen in attack.

Barcelona have a fight on their hands for the Spanish title

In truth, Barcelona can probably cope with the three forwards they currently have fit. However, if one gets injured, then it leaves Setien with very few attacking options. This season the Catalan giants have an actual fight on their hands for the Spanish title with arch-rivals Real Madrid.

The bookmakers now make the reigning champions second-favourites to win La Liga this season at odds of 6/5. They are currently three points behind Los Blancos.

Not signing an extra attacking player in the January transfer window could well mean the difference between success and failure this season. The Catalan giants may just rue that decision could the end of the season.

Does Barcelona have enough attacking options to win La Liga?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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