FC Barcelona: Triple the Threat, Thrice the Demands

Adi-Oula SebastianCorrespondent IIMarch 19, 2011

SEVILLE, SPAIN - MARCH 13:  Lionel Messi (L), David Villa (C) and Xavi Hernandez of Barcelona line up a free kick during the la Liga match between Sevilla and Barcelona at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on March 13, 2011 in Seville, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

There’s a saying “another day, another dollar.” Well in the world of FC Barcelona, it’s another day, another (hard fought) victory.

This time FC Barcelona hosted Getafe FC, who for long stretches of the match proved to be a tough opponent.

Though the Blaugrana were dominating the game, Pep’s squad had a hard time breaking down the opponent’s defensive line(s).

But in the end, FC Barcelona’s persistence paid off; Getafe was defeated 2-1.

The final score suggests a close contested game, but it was far from it. What is worrying is Barca's recent wastefulness in front of goal.

For once, Lionel Messi didn’t score against Getafe and apart from one golden opportunity, didn’t threaten to.  In David Villa, FC Barcelona bought the most complete center forward in world football, but even he cut a frustrated figure for much of the game.

Although Bojan scored the all-important winner, Pedro’s wide play was sorely missed.

Perhaps it’s an exaggeration but to a certain degree “Messi-dependency” is real. In the last couple of games, Lionel Messi, has been off his game. The upcoming international break might be a blessing in disguise.

For all the success and worldwide recognition Pep Guardiola has brought to FC Barcelona, he still has one major flaw; he doesn’t trust his squad players enough.

The demands of three competitions are finally catching up with Barca’s small squad. Only the absence of Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal’s recent surgery pushed Gabriel Milito back into the first team. 

It must be said that when given the opportunity, Gabriel Miltio has been Barca’s worst defender. His recent outings in a Blaugrana shirt have been anything but convincing. Therefore it is only understandable why Pep Guardiola preferred Abidal over the Argentinean.

But it must also be said that Pep Guardiola almost never rotates his squad. Thus playing time is hard to come by in Catalunya. The advantages of such policy—his preferred starting 11 almost have a telepathic understanding on the pitch.

Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini should take note; two transfer windows and millions of Euros later, and he still hasn’t got the slightest clue which is his best formation.

Nevertheless, Pep’s policy has also a major disadvantage, squad players like Javier Mascherano (how a world-class player can be a squad player is beyond me), Ibrahim Afellay or the aforementioned Gabriel Milito aren’t given the opportunity to gel with their teammates.

Subsequently when these players do get some playing time, they usually fail to deliver when called up on. Therefore, who is to blame? Is it the manager’s or player’s fault?

Ibrahim Afellay has all the tools to be a Barca success story, but he is criminally underused. As Barca is nearing the final stages of the season, rotating should become mandatory in order to maintain the fitness and to keep the players fresh.

Lionel Messi & David Villa look like fatigue has finally caught up with them. What would happen if either one gets injured? Bojan isn’t consistent enough to carry the scoring duties all by himself.

By all accounts, titles aren’t just won by 11 players even if those are all undeniably world-class. In April there’s a grueling away trip to Shaktar Donetsk, a venue that has proven quite demanding for Barca and the Copa del Rey final against eternal rivals Real Madrid.

If Pep Guardiola doesn’t start to incorporate his squad players more often, his Barca side could implode even worse than Frank Rijkaard’s side of 2006/2007. So far Barca have been on the rather lucky side of things when it comes to injuries, but Pep’s side are only one or two injuries (to key players) away from a complete disaster.

Victory loves preparation, but FC Barcelona isn’t even close to be prepared for the worst.