Why Luka Jovic can be the solution to Barcelona's striking woes
The star-studded Barcelona attack comprising Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Ousmane Dembele has performed pretty well as expected.
The team is leading the La Liga table and given their consistency in the league, it won’t be a surprise if they win it again. Their Copa del Rey hunt also doesn't seem much difficult, if they are able to overcome Real Madrid. But their biggest concern is the Champions League this season.
THE BONE OF CONTENTION
The forwards of Barcelona have scored plenty of goals and one of them is leading the golden boot race once again (no points for guessing who). But something is noticeably off about Barca's gunman Suarez. The Uruguayan number 9 hasn't scored an away goal in the UCL since a 1-1 draw against Roma in 2015, which translates to a 16 consecutive away game goalless run.
Champions League is a knockout competition which does not pardon errors even in one game. A club is one poor showing away from getting knocked out, and who knows this better than Barca ("the Romantada" not Remontada. Ring a bell?). Their treble hopes can die again if their forwards fail to score goals.
Suarez himself confessed last season that the absence of a good backup striker resulted in aggravated fatigue due to the piling up of several fixtures in a short span.
The fatigue and lack of rotation were responsible for dull performances in Champions League. Barca signed Kevin Prince Boateng in January to supplement Suarez but even after many games, he has received a meager amount of play time and isn't expected to score as much as he should because of his discomfort in the knee.
Although Messi is the second highest goal scorer in the Champions League currently he will need the help of his partner Suarez to outscore the opposition. But Suarez is not delivering what he needs to provide in the UCL.
With poor outings in every game away from home, Suarez is not helping the club achieve the most vital 1/3rd of the treble. The Uruguayan has 1 goal in the Liga, 1 in Copa Del Rey and none in the UCL.
Yes, because he has missed 24 big scoring opportunities this season, which for any striker is an awful statistic. Factors like aging and lack of physical fitness are responsible for the decline of the deadly former Liverpool player. After this season lapses, Barcelona should really find themselves a top notch striker so that they can avoid similar concern in the Champions League next season.
THE WAY OUT
To solve this problem, Barca is monitoring some young strikers from top leagues among which the name of Serbian striker Luka Jovic seems to be the favorite option of the Catalan giants. The 21-year-old is the top scorer of the Bundesliga with 15 goals, and he is leading the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus, and many others. Let us learn a few prominent features of his style to understand this new sensation better.
CHIEF FEATURES OF JOVIC
Jovic partners with Sebastian Haller up front in the 3-4-1-2 formation deployed by coach Adi Hutter. Eintracht Frankfurt like to attack from the wings and this practice has led to a growth of an important attribute of Jovic as a striker.
The crosses delivered from the wings need to be slotted into the net first time under pressure from defenders. As a result, Jovic’s technique of taking the first-time shot has developed particularly well and he has shown this skill to score goals on multiple occasions.
Another important strategy of his playing style is his tendency of dropping back after making runs into the opposition penalty area. The objective of this ploy is to create space for himself between the defenders and midfielders and utilize that space to take a shot with better accuracy. This can be seen in the clip below.
Jovic is a fantastic striker and naturally, he has impressed the top European clubs who have added him to their shopping wish list. He has made his case stronger by becoming the youngest ever player to score 5 goals in a single Bundesliga match. Overall, he has 21 goals and 7 assists in all competitions. Come the summer, one thing is certain, and it is that he’ll be moving to a top club, with Barcelona being the favorites.