Since the start of the season, Europe has revealed that even Lionel Messi could be in bad shape. This enduring state at which the Argentine level was constant in excellence has reached an expiration date. Even in this unusual season under Dad Martin, the ten was not as extinct as it is today. This apathy is undoubtedly explained by the awkward end of the summer spent by the six-time Ballon d’Or, battling the leaders who keep him at the club against his will. However, the reasons for the difficulties are not only mental, but also tactical.
“The system is new, teammates are new and Messi has to learn from this situation. He had a great relationship with Suárez, Rakitic and Alb. Of these three, only one remained. Messi must find himself and find new complicity, new mechanisms“, explains Àlex Delmàs, a former player who has become a consultant for several Catalan media. For the first time in several years, FC Barcelona is less of Barça from Messi than his coach.
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Messi-Griezmann’s riddle is solved: a typical team appears in Barça
Messi and Koeman must meet
Arriving on a great team that played the slowest football on the continent, Ronald Koeman tried to revitalize his family’s game. If the heightened pace and vertical inclinations of this new Barça fit perfectly with Coutinho’s catchers, Pjanić’s long-range commands or Ansu Fati’s calls into space, it’s pretty bad for Lionel Messi to have no legs left from yesterday. The problem, if the team adopts a pace more capable of satisfying its captain, begins to dangerously resemble Barçi of Valverde, winning in less. The opponent has time to close the premises and Messi finds himself forced to be the alpha and omega of Catalan attacks. At this point in his career this is doing him a disservice.
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“I think we see Messi less and less able to suck up as many balls and take control of as many aspects of the game as he did a few years ago. And on a collective level, Barça demands that Messi be the same player as in 2017, something impossible. Because if Messi spends on construction tasks 40 meters from goals, he can’t have the same energy to complete the action“, Albert Blaya, a journalist for Editorial Rifleman. It has been four years since any coach sitting on the Camp Nou bench faced the same dilemma: How high off the field to place Messi?
Griezmann can help Messi
From a theoretical point of view, there is a consensus. Messi must be on the edge of the opponent’s field. With a goal in sight, he is as determined as anyone else. However, consensus usually falls apart in the face of his team’s inability to pass the ball to him in advanced areas. Valverde and Setién had this bitter experience. At first they tried to locate their best player as much as possible on the pitch, before finally witnessing the systemic relegation of Messi, forced to come and solve the team’s problems in creation on their own.
Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann
Credits: Getty Images
So how do you solve these problems? This is Antoine Griezmann. Last week against Osasuna, Griezman may have played his best match in a jersey blaugrana. Located in the heart of the game, behind Martin Braithwaite, the Frenchman was the guard of the offensive culé. When he needed to advance in the team, all the good balls went through his legs. The result, the fluidity found at the time of the attack and Messi can finally receive the ball in good conditions.
Once in the last third, Griezmann returned suit no. 10 and put on offensive clothing, multiplying the calls. “If you want to integrate Messi and Griezmann into the eleven, you need to ensure that Griezmann can participate in the construction phase. It cannot be isolated. And after the team installs itself in the opposing camp, Griezmann is the one who has to take a more advanced position, not Messi, because Griezmann is a player with very good falls. Barca must be aware that they must integrate Griezmman in both phases“, Warns Albert Blaya. Griezmann integrated into the game, thus allowing Messi to solve certain tasks, extending in passing the life expectancy of the Argentine, Koeman would find formula? We’re not going that fast …
We forgot Braithwaite
To understand the meaning of AG7’s performance against Osasuna, you need to understand the importance that Martin Braithwaite had that day. “The character of Braithwaite is very important. Not because of quality issues, but profile. It’s new that it fixes: it’s always between two exchanges and monopolizes their attention. That makes Messi and Griezmann better. Griezmann has two strengths: finishing and discovering space. And in order to be able to discover free spaces, there must be someone in front of whom he provokes those spaces“, notes Àlex Delmàs.
Depending on the mandate of Braithwaite … here this originally attractive animation loses its charm. On the one hand, the former TFC does not have the level to be a holder against prestigious rivals. On the other hand, entrusting the point to the Dane and bringing Messi back to the right is a real problem when it comes to pressing.
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“Messi unbalances the team. It is difficult to structure the pressing with the Messiah on the right. He is not a big fan of pressing, and he ends all his actions in the center. So when the opponent gets the ball, he has a completely free side through which he can get out. ” developed by Àlex Delmàs. A game the other day [contre Osasuna ndlr.] opens new doors for coexistence between Messi and Griezmann. I don’t see things as negatively as I did a week ago, but I think we would be wrong to say ‘look, we found a formulaThis setting can be very useful against rivals inferior to Barca, but as soon as the big games arrive, Messi will find the center and Griezmann will pay the price.
There is no ideal solution
The most likely scenario is that Koeman cannot find the Philosopher’s Stone because it simply does not exist. “Each time Koeman sets the eleven, he asks different things of his players based on their profiles. We never see a similar Barça, except for Frenkie de Jong who has a role that doesn’t change. Everyone else adapts to where they play“concludes Albert Blaya. Any change in the eleven and any substitution of players have essential inconveniences.
On the right, Messi is happy, but Dembélé, in progress, has no place. When Dembélé plays, it’s Sergiño Dest’s turn to eat his black bread because Koeman prefers to put Robert in line with the Frenchman. When Roberto straightens up, Barça’s recovery struggles, forcing Messi to come down. To repeat. Ronald Koeman faces an endless array of puzzles. The Dutch technician taps forward, but at least goes forward.
Credits: Getty Images
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