Luis Suarez Injury: How Barcelona could line up without talisman
The past week has been nothing less than a roller coaster ride for FC Barcelona. They were knocked out by Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup, parted company with Ernesto Valverde, and lost Luis Suarez to a serious injury.
The 32-year-old Uruguayan striker underwent a keyhole surgery on Sunday, to resolve an injury to the external meniscus of the right knee, and is expected to be out of action for approximately four months.
Suarez has made 14 appearances for the Catalan club so far this season, scoring 14 goals. He is currently the third highest goalscorer in La Liga with 11 goals, and is the highest assist provider in the league with seven assists to his name.
The star striker has left a gaping hole in the Barcelona squad with his absence, and the club will now have to make some changes in the line-up in order to maintain their attacking prowess.
Opportunity for Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati and Carles Perez
The two La Masia players, Ansu Fati and Carles Perez have looked promising this season whenever they stepped on the field.17-year-old Fati has made 14 appearances so far this term for the senior side, scoring three goals. In the process, he also became the youngest player to score in the UEFA Champions League when he scored the winner against Inter Milan at San Siro on the final matchday of group stage.
Perez is another attacking option available to Barcelona, who plays at the right wing and can also pair up as a second striker in a 4-4-2 or 3-1-4-2 formation. The 21-year-old Spaniard has made 11 appearances for the senior team and has found the back of the net on two occasions.
With the absence of El Pistolero, Antoine Griezmann could finally play at his natural position as a striker, and get an opportunity to gain some confidence. In case Barca maintain the 4-3-3 formation, the front three could line-up with Fati playing at the left wing, Griezmann playing as striker and talisman Lionel Messi occupying his place at the right wing.
Deploying Messi as False 9
When Pep Guardiola first introduced Messi as a False 9, it had a devastating effect on the opposition, as the midfield - where every attacking move originates - was strengthened with the presence of the Argentine forward.
Messi is known to have an eye for making key passes and, once he drops back in the midfield region, he gets a better view of the attacking third and is able to utilize the space to make vital passes into the box.
With Messi playing as False 9, Griezmann could return to the left flank whereas Perez can be placed at the right. The midfield could consist of Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and Rakitic until Arthur returns from injury. The continuous link that Messi would create between the midfield and attacking third is bound to leave the opposition defenders fretting.
Opting for the 4-4-2 formation
The best aspect of the 4-4-2 formation is that it is fairly simple, with well-established roles for every player in the team. This formation has the defensive depth and also enables the team to attack in numbers with a four man midfield. Such a formation comes in handy for teams when playing against sides deemed weaker on paper.
Valverde used the 4-4-2 formation in the past and the Catalan club has numerous world-class midfielders at its disposal and could utilize them through this formation.
Messi and Griezmann could line-up at the attacking front and youngsters such as Fati and Perez could also get some minutes if Barca decide to rest the former two forwards.Published 14 Jan 2020, 04:09 IST