Barcelona didn't miss Neymar during his one-game suspension served Sunday, Dec. 22 against Getafe, but they'll certainly welcome him back with open arms as he'll only improve a recently rejuvenated Barcelona attack.
Neymar will return to a lineup that exploded in his absence, scoring five straight goals after going down early and pulling out a 5-2 road win to keep pace with Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga table.
Sitting out thanks to an accumulation of yellow cards, the Brazilian watched his club go down 2-0 before Pedro ripped off three goals in the span of nine minutes.
Without Neymar or Lionel Messi, the Barcelona attack was its usual unselfish self, as it produced goal after goal through strong possession and aggressive offense.
Questions have emerged about Barcelona's offense with Messi out, as it has experienced some uncharacteristic struggles since its star went down. That feeling was only amplified with Neymar—who has carried the club at times offensively—missing Sunday's tilt, along with Xavi sitting out.
But La Blaugrana found their way through midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta, who were aggressive after having seen their squad go down two goals early on. That resulted in a plethora of scoring chances for Pedro, who made the defending champs forget about Neymar's absence for a few short moments.
How crucial is Neymar to Barcelona?
When Neymar returns, he should only improve the attack that is still looking for finishing help up front without Messi.
The Brazilian has been ever valuable for Barcelona as of late. He scored the club's only goals in a 2-1 win over Villarreal on Dec. 14, and before that he notched a hat-trick in a Champions League tilt with Celtic.
This snapped a five-game scoreless streak in all competitions for Neymar, as he's certainly been more featured in the offense and has gotten more touches without Messi in the fold.
In the win over Getafe, Barcelona showed no signs of needing Neymar with Pedro stepping up to score some clutch goals. But despite Pedro leading the team with 10 La Liga goals, he can't be the standout performer in every game.
Neymar is the go-to guy without Messi. Barcelona certainly have enough talent and scoring power to make it without either star forward for a game or two, but a long-term absence of both stars would make things awfully tough on the Barcelona attack.
When Barcelona are clicking like they were at Getafe, the goals will come. But it's not always that easy, and Neymar is needed for those occasions to lift the club to wins like he did the week prior.
After scoring only two goals at home—both coming from Neymar—against Villarreal, it was fair to wonder whether the offense could hold its own without the star 21-year-old. It certainly did, but him returning will only make the attack that much more potent.