Barcelona vs. Cordoba: How Will Vilanova's Absence Affect La Blaugrana?

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIJanuary 9, 2013

Tito Vilanova
Tito VilanovaDavid Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona will be without manager Tito Vilanova for their matchup against Cordoba.

Vilanova is currently in New York getting a second opinion on his progress after a successful surgery on a tumor.

While Vilanova focuses on his health and waits for results, his team has a game to play against Cordoba. While it will be difficult for the Andalusians to overcome a 2-0 aggregate, will Vilanova's absence have a major affect on La Blaugrana?

The answer, quite simply, is that Barcelona should be fine. For one, they have the best player in the world in Lionel Messi. There is no one on Corboda who can slow Messi down, and he should be good for at least a goal.

Additionally, while Vilanova is certainly going through a tough time, his fingerprints will most likely be all over the lineup. He has likely discussed the game with assistant Jordi Roura. He may be across the ocean, but he won't be too far away.

Barcelona is just a better team than Corboda. Their 4-0 dominant victory over Espanyol showed how good this team can be. They are healthy, for the most part, and feature more talent than Cordoba has on their best day. 

While the Andalusians will certainly be scrappy and try to push the envelope, Barcelona is disciplined enough to not make mistakes and to wait for their openings.

The one area where La Blaugrana will miss their manager is in making sure they don't look ahead. This game is all but decided, but there is a huge looming matchup with Malaga. 

Barcelona is already looking ahead to that game—Xavi, Pique, Iniesta and Pedro will all rest against Cordoba. 

They have to guard against a motivated Cordoba team looking to stave off defeat and make sure they don't approach it with a lackadaisical mindset.

Having Vilanova on the bench would make sure that didn't happen. But he won't have that ability in New York.

Still, La Blaugrana is so talented, and they should be able to beat up on Cordoba pretty thoroughly, even without Vilanova.