As most Cules have almost come to expect, Messi came to rescue the Blaugranas at the Sardinero stadium against Racing. Once again, the Little Giant refused to hide and assumed the goal-scoring responsibility when The Pep Team needed him the most.
I have argued many times before that Leo needs a great team around him to succeed and provide him with quality (with talented artists such as Xavi or Iniesta, it's obvious his job seems much easier!)
Having said that, I think it's time to highlight the fact that, especially since Villa's terrible injury and Alexis' on-and-off absences, Messi is feeling pretty lonely upfront. It sometimes looks as if passing the ball to Leo is the only way to hit the net: And the team suffers as a result.
Looking back at this season's La Liga, it is clear our away form has let us down - apart from the continuous refereeing blunders in favour of Real Madrid, but I am so frustrated with the issue I will not waste one more second of time talking about it!!!
Anyway, back to topic: If you analyse the matches were FC Barcelona failed to win (Getafe 1-0, Osasuna 3-2, Real Sociedad 2-2, Valencia 2-2, Bilbao 2-2, Espanyol 1-1, Villarreal 0-0) you find out that, actually, Messi only scored a total of ONE in all those matches. In other words: If Messi doesn't find the net, Barça have been in deep trouble.
It's clear Messi can't take all the goalscoring pressure on his shoulders. The guy needs help. I have asked other players to step up before, but this hasn't truly happened yet.
Many Barçablog fans commented on Pedro's bad luck last night: I feel it's more to do with lack on confidence than misfortune. As a football player, I have been injured many times. Experience tells me that recovering from injury is tough, but regaining full match fitness and confidence in yourself is a different matter.
As you know, PR17 has always based his game on raw pace and quick, accurate shots. Watching him yesterday, you can see his speed is progressively coming back but, for now, his shot attempts are pretty poor. His 7 goals so far this season sound ridiculous compared to the total of 45 he netted over the last 2 years.
No need to panic though: I'm sure El Micro Machine will come back to his best, all he needs is Guardiola to continue to trust him with continued playing time. I can't wait to celebrate Pedro's next goal!!!
The other point I want to discuss is the Cuenca/Tello battle for a spot in the wings. The Skinny Flamingo impressed during the first half of the season but, before he could really establish himself as 'the next big winger', Tello appeared in the scene thanks to his ongoing great performances with Barça B.
Looking at the raw data, the Barçablog fans think Cuenca has made a bigger impact so far (See the current Player Of The Season standings here) For me though, the young Number 23 seems to have lost his in-your-face approach, which is what made him special in the first place. Comparing players may seem unfair sometimes, but is part of being a professional sportsman: At this moment in time, I feel Tello is more likely to help Messi with the goal-scoring job than Cuenca.
Yes, we all agree Messi is extraordinary. La Pulga has scored 15 goals in his last 4 matches and already totals a phenomenal 50 for The Blaugranas this season. It's simply a matter of time for Leo to beat Cesar's all-time goalscoring record of 235 - He is only 5 goals behind. In short, Messi's list of individual awards is legendary, no question about that.
I would just love to see other players stepping up to help. I'm just going to throw a scary thought out there: What Barça do if Leo gets injured? Think about it...
LEO MESSI: THE BEST FOOTBALLER EVER, TRUE, BUT HE CAN'T SCORE EVERY GOAL IN EVERY MATCH!!!!
Please comment: WHO SHOULD STEP UP to help La Pulga?