Barcelona have got off to their worst start in 25 years and following a shock 2-0 defeat against Granada, the alarm bells are sounding loud. So what is going so wrong? It is too easy to blame the absence of Lionel Messi through injury.
The Argentinean, arguably the greatest player in history, will obviously be sorely missed. However, there are problems throughout the team and the return of Messi would not solve the leaky defence for example.
Keeping a clean sheet is a clear problem for Barca. Heading into the game against Granada they had already conceded seven goals in four games. Despite hammering Valencia, they still let a couple in before wrapping up a 5-2 win.
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Then to concede another two against Granada, it is clear where the problems lie. They have not managed to keep a clean sheet in a competitive game since May 12.
Ernesto Valverde pointed out after the defeat against Granada that his side are not creating enough chances. Pointing out they need to ‘translate their dominance into scoring chances and into victories’.
That is fair enough, but maybe he needs to look at the defence because conceding an average of two goals a game will make it difficult to win games, especially when the attack is not firing.
They are not the Barca of old, who could concede a couple, because they would blow sides off the park at the other end of the pitch. With the exception of the Valencia game that is not happening this season.
Messi is at least available again, and he came on in the second half against Granada with his side behind in the game. Even the great man could not turn the match around though and it could be a few weeks yet before he is fully fit and firing.
Valverde admits it has been a poor start to the season and has to say that as the stats do not lie. They are in seventh place on seven points from five games and are conceding goals for fun.
However, he is also right to point out there is still a long way to go and plenty of time to turn things around. Thankfully, for Barca, arch-rivals Real Madrid are also having one or two issues and sit just one point ahead of them having played a game less. Their game in hand is a tough one against second-placed Sevilla on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid was also held to a goalless draw on Saturday and sit in third place on 10 points.
So yes there is still plenty of time, and the fact that Messi is back is a huge bonus, but surely the first job for Valverde has to be to focus on tightening things up at the back and stop conceding goals. His job could depend on it after all.