Alexis Spurns Chances, Messi Brings Up 300 in Barcelona's 2-1 Win over Granada

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 10:  Alexis Sanchez of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Jordi Codina of Getafe CF during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at Camp Nou on February 10, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

We've seen it all before—in the face of adversity, Lionel Messi rising above mere-mortal status to deliver the goods, and the three points, to Barcelona.

His two goals—the second a pinpoint free kick—brought up numbers 300 and 301 in a Barcelona shirt for the little Argentinian. They have come in 365 games.

Unfortunately, we've seen something else before, too—Alexis Sanchez failing to take his chances as La Blaugrana fans grow increasingly impatient with the Chilean.

Against Granada, with David Villa injured, the 24-year-old was preferred on the left of Barca's front three ahead of Andres Iniesta.

But while his fellow South American was busying himself bringing up another landmark in Barca colors, Alexis was busying himself missing chances.

It's hard not to feel sorry for him in some ways. His work ethic is evident and he gets into the right positions, but he seems to have one fatal downfall: a lack of confidence—something which is pretty key for a confidence player.

Fed by Messi, his first chance saw the ball loop up from his first touch and Granada 'keeper Tono, who was brilliant, comfortably slide out and take the ball from him.

He frequently found himself in similar positions on the left side of the penalty area behind the defense, but in both halves, with time on his side, he failed to capitalize on the situations.

More often than not, he even failed to get a shot away—the one occasion he did saw a right-foot effort bend wide—and just ran until he was either dispossessed or the chance had somehow disappeared.

Just after the hour he was replaced by Tello, with Jordi Roura seemingly losing the faith in him that Barcelona fans lost long ago now.

Meanwhile, Messi was far from his best in the first half but came alive in the second half, in what is a totally opposite situation to Alexis Sanchez's.

Barcelona paid $30 million for Alexis from Udinese 18 months ago, but with The Express reporting Manchester United's interest, unless he miraculously finds some form, they'll be looking to recoup some of that money this summer.

The problem he faces now is that with performances, like tonight, that lack a cutting edge, he is going to find playing time more and more difficult to come by—particularly in the bigger games.   

And will the odd goal against Getafe and Cordoba be enough to save his Barcelona future?

Probably not.