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Was Neymar's departure a blessing in disguise for Barcelona?

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
9.79K   //    25 Sep 2017, 13:37 IST

Barcelona players celebrating after Suarez's goal against Girona
Barcelona players celebrate Suarez's goal against Girona

The world saw Neymar leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain as the most expensive player, which led to a lot of questions being raised over Barcelona's attacking capabilities, as they were seemingly missing a trick in the attack department.

What seemed a big question for Barcelona has been answered well enough by the tactical capabilities of manager Ernesto Valverde as Barcelona are looking a formidable unit.

The left flank has been well dealt by Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba, who have been given more freedom to exploit the spaces of the opposition which was not seen much during Neymar's presence.

The first glimpses of Alba's abilities this season were seen in the match against Espanyol, where he provided two crucial assists and was seen bursting with speed to create havoc on the left flank.

Similarly, the group stage match against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League saw Iniesta rise to the occasion and provide an assist for Messi to score a goal and complete a brace.

The match against Getafe was important for the likes of Denis Suarez who came on as a substitute but proved to be a fine talent, as per popular belief, by scoring an eye-pleasing goal, and then scoring one and assisting another in the game against Eibar.

Lionel Messi leading from the front

Messi has been the star of the team once again with a mind-boggling 9 goals and an assist in the league so far, but what these numbers do not show is his vision and his ability to break through the defence at will.

FC Barcelona v Juventus - UEFA Champions League
Lionel Messi has been in red-hot form this season

With an average rating of 8.83, an average of 5 dribbles per match, an average of 3.2 shots on target per match, 4 man of the match awards and 11 key passes, have seen him emerge as the best of the lot in these 6 matches and his presence on the pitch never made anyone feel the absence of Neymar.

Impressive display by new players

The new signings - Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu, Paulinho, and Ousmane Dembele have all proved their worth so far, by contributing to the team's scoring in some way or the other.

Paulinho, who was put under the scanner by many pundits and Barcelona fans,alike, has answered them brilliantly by scoring 2 and assisting 1 in the past few matches.

Barcelona v Espanyol - La Liga
Barcelona's new recruits have begun the season with promising displays

Meanwhile, Nelson Semedo has been instrumental in the right back position which was a worrying point for Barcelona after the departure of Dani Alves.

The role of right back, which was managed by Aleix Vidal and Sergio Roberto last season was a weak link in the team, but with the arrival of Semedo, it has been observed that his sheer pace, defensive abilities, and attacking skills are of top-notch quality.

Dembele, who got injured in the clash against Getafe was also seen displaying his much talked about skill and pace, and produced a superb assist against Espanyol, although a lot more is expected from the €150m striker.

After being sidelined due to injury, Barcelona would be hoping for his quick return as he is undoubtedly a very important player.

Opportunities for the bench?

A big change that Valverde has brought in this team, is finding the right tactical presence which was missing during Luis Enrique's reign. Substituting the right player at the right time, changing roles of different players and formation changes midway through a game seem to be working perfectly for now.

Players like Denis Suarez, Aleix Vidal, Sergio Roberto, Andre Gomes, Rafinha, Lucas Digne, and Jasper Cillessen, have time and again displayed their abilities.

Barcelona v Eibar - La Liga
Denis Suarez has stepped up and performed excellently

Although some players have not been given many opportunities, it will be important for the manager to give more chances to the bench, and help them prove their worth to the team.

Though it might be early days in the league, the Catalan giants have taken the top spot of the table, drawing clear of Atletico Madrid by 4 points and Real Madrid by 7 points.

Barcelona would be hoping to continue this form and bring home the treble once more, as they look to be sublime touch, with Messi and company playing brilliantly to outclass every opponent.

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