In an atypical start to the season, Barcelona have certainly looked anything but their normal selves.
Consistently poor domestically during the 2020/21 campaign, they’re making heavy weather of almost every game in La Liga, no matter the opponent.
Many have got wise to the Jordi Alba/Lionel Messi connection and by stationing up to three players around the latter, it makes that particular outlet moribund as an attacking force.
They’ve not been faring too much better in the middle of the park either.
Though we have to go back almost six years for the last time Xavi and Iniesta played alongside Sergio Busquets, Barca have still managed to dominate in that area of the pitch… until now.
Simply put, Busi looks like he’s been walking through treacle in a number of games this season. His sharpness has completed deserted him, his passing range – compared to normal – is barely above average, and his ability to break forward and either find or play the ball into space has diminished.
We saw again how the game against Levante changed when Pedri was introduced, and even when Riqui Puig has got a rare look in, the dynamic shifts in Barca’s favour.
As good a player as he was, Busquets isn’t that now, and in order to move on, Barca should be taking a long, hard look a the situation.
Putting Busi on the bench and only bringing him on when needed is surely a much better idea than putting pressure on him in games that are continuing to pass him by these days.
Do Barca want to keep their senior stars happy or do they want to win trophies? That’s the bottom line.