Real Madrid were closing in on Barcelona after their victory at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano and Ernesto Valverde had no choice but to use Lionel Messi against Athletic Club. It was noticeable that he wasn’t at his best and, although he tried, he lacked the freshness he needs to be decisive.
When the Argentine isn’t on his game, heads turn to Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan, however, has played too many matches in a row. Everyone knows this and it is showing in his performances. Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets are going through something similar. The problem is that nobody else appears in the case of necessity, whether because of fatigue or another reason. Philippe Coutinho is crying to the skies, with this being another match that can be erased. He’s not playing well and some are starting to grow tired of waiting for him. His days as a starter seem to be numbered.
Arturo Vidal had done of his worst performances for Barcelona in this match. There were too many who didn’t play well. Without Arthur and without Jordi Alba, it ended there. Although Nelson Semedo and Sergi Roberto tried, they weren’t decisive. Legs are getting heavy and Barcelona arrived at this match with their tongues hanging out, out of breath. The accumulated fatigue is starting to take its toll. There is no better time for Barcelona to have a week off.
Why didn’t Malcom play a single minute?
These are Valverde kinds of things. The Brazilian was one of the best players against Real Madrid, but didn’t even warm up in this match even though there was a need for a goal.
As a result of Jordi Alba‘s absence, Semedo had to play on the opposite side. In the first half, he was one of the most attacking players for his team, going up and down the left flank.