Osasuna 0-0 Barcelona: Is Barcelona Still Messi-Dependent in Front of Goal?
The match against Osasuna proved difficult for Barcelona. The Catalans defended well and created several chances but was unable to find the back of the net.
In truth, the performance looked very similar to matches last season. Everyone on the pitch seemed content to pass the ball and create chances, but no one looked dangerous in front of goal.
Chances were wasted, direct attacking was nonexistent and Lionel Messi did not have enough time to impact the game with only 20 minutes on the pitch.
But should Barcelona fans be worried that the scoring burden is still very much dependent on Messi?
The answer is both yes and no.
It is no secret that Barcelona thrives with Messi on the pitch. He is arguably the best player on the planet, and it makes sense that the club wouldn’t play as well without him.
Barcelona is used to having Messi lead the attack and work his magic every match. Without the Argentine in the lineup, the offense does take a hit, but it isn’t as dependent on him as it used to be.
Against Osasuna, the Catalans managed to get off 12 shots, but only three were on target. However, they also attempted 16 dribbles to Osasuna’s two, showing that Barcelona still prefers to keep the ball on the ground rather than take their chances at goal.
There is a reason why Barcelona seem to struggle to find the back of the net at times, and it all comes down to the types of players in their squad.
When looking at the group it quickly becomes apparent that Barcelona has many more creators than scorers.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas are all wonderful distributors who keep the flow going but will rarely put the ball past the keeper. But it isn’t just the midfield that lacks true scorers.
Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Tello are also wonderful distributors who play well in the system and work hard when on the pitch. Yet, like the midfielders, scoring is not one of their main strengths.
With so many creators, it often comes down to one player doing the scoring. In Barcelona’s case, everyone seems to be working to help Messi score.
Neymar was the lone aggressor on the pitch against Osasuna, meaning that any form of offensive attack would have to come through the Brazilian. That is a lot of pressure for one player to carry and it is the same burden Messi has been carrying for quite some time.
The only issue is that Neymar has yet to show his deadly side in front of goal for Barcelona.
The Brazilian has been more of a dribbler and creator since joining Barcelona and isn’t playing with the same directness that he did at Santos. It seems as though he is being careful not to overstep his bounds at Barcelona, but he must get back to his scoring ways.
Until Messi entered the match, there was no real direction. Everyone wearing the Catalan shirt seemed to be looking to help their teammates score but never looked like scoring themselves.
This passive attitude against opponents is the same thing that hurt Barcelona last year and cannot be allowed to return this season.
To put it simply, Barcelona does suffer without Messi. What club wouldn’t be weaker without their star player?
Things aren’t as bad as they used to be, but someone must start stepping up to give Messi help.
Other players have been able to find the back of the net for Barcelona this year, but it has mostly been when Messi has played, who demanded the attention of opposing defenders.
Does Barcelona need another scorer besides Messi?
Right now, Messi is still Barcelona’s only major threat. Other attackers can and will score, but La Blaugrana need another real and dangerous threat. Neymar can absolutely be that player, but he is still finding his role at the Catalan club.
It isn’t time for Cules to worry, as Barcelona has been in fantastic form this year under Martino, who has added directness to the Tiki-Taka system. But the draw against Osasuna does show Barcelona’s need for more balanced scoring.
Messi will continue to carry the scoring load for the Catalans, but who will finally step up and become Barcelona’s undisputed number two?
*All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com
What did you make of Barcelona’s draw? Does Messi need more help in the scoring department? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
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