Camp Nou

Next Game

Barcelona v Villarreal

Sunday, 01 February 2015, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Vicente Calderon

Last Game

A Madrid 2 - 3 Barcelona

Wednesday, 28 January 2015, 20:00

Copa del Rey Quarter Final

The Messi effect

Barcelona's La Liga title challenge took a blow on Saturday when the Catalan giants suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad, allowing Real Madrid to open up a three-point lead at the top of the table.

Last Updated: 26/02/14 at 09:55 Post Comment

Lionel Messi's goal in that loss was his 229th La Liga goal, the third highest total in La Liga history, however Terry Gibson told Revista the Argentina ace is not having his usual impact on games at the moment.

"He was in the peripheral of things in that game and not participating," said Gibson.

"There were a lot of times when the midfield players were looking up to play that penetrative pass to the forwards but he was not moving - he was walking around a lot more than we have seen him do.

"Is he irritated by Neymar? The new manager? The style of play? Is he over his injury? I don't know but he is not the same Messi we have seen over the last few seasons.

"However, saying that, it was his fifth consecutive game where he has scored a goal and I have to be careful not to criticise him too much.

"But I am getting frustrated - I think we should be seeing a more dynamic performance from Messi at the moment."

Team dynamics

Guillem Balague says that Messi may not be running as much as he used to but we should not be focussing on just one player.

"The stats show that he is still scoring - that does not mean he is involved more or less with the game but it does show that he is still giving what the team needs," he said.

"He probably does not run as much as he used too - 8kms now compared to maybe 10kms in the past. But the team does not help him - to focus so much on one player has distracted the attention from the rest of the team.

"The fact is the wide players do not stay wide; the fullbacks do not go forward often and the midfielders do not get into the box as often as they should. There is not much running from Barcelona with or without the ball at the moment."

Graham Hunter agreed: "The shape of the team around Messi has changed and the work rate around him has changed.

"Maybe you could say that Messi could do more to help the team and he could work harder, but that is not what he has trained to be. He has been trained to be the killer, the assassin - the player who make the difference.

"I still think he is doing that and if there is a little more to come and he regains his match fitness, then in two or three games we won't be talking about him - but the problems in the team around him will remain."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

o Brendan is full of sh!t, who'd have thought it eh?

fatbob30
Carroll accuses Rodgers

P

resumably, you wanted to keep the version of Downing that was never seen at Anfield. The one that another manager has managed to re-create. The one you passed over.

badwolf
Rodgers: I wanted to keep Downing

T

he uber commercialisation of the 90s has led to the point where this overly familar, try hard, jolly hockey sticks type fronts up a major football match on a weekly basis. Unlike the great presenters of yesteryear, I doubt he would even recognise the scent of Brut.

mufc phil
Football On TV: Jake Humphrey

Footer 365

Nemanja Matic says Chelsea happy to maintain their five-point Premier League lead

Midfielder Nemanja Matic was happy to take a point after Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

Roberto Martinez delighted with 'immense' Everton's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace

Roberto Martinez believes his side can now reach their true potential after ending their winless run at Crystal Palace.

Premier League: Chelsea maintain five-point lead after 1-1 draw with Manchester City

Chelsea remain five points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 1-1 draw with second-placed Manchester City.

Mail Box

'Costa Is A Bad Man. Suarez Is Not'

That's quite some claim. And yes, unfortunately we are still talking about this. We also have mails on Ronaldinho, possible replacements for Yaya Toure and more...

Red Mist Better Than Calculated Costa?

Hmmm. We're not sure about this argument - one Mailbox says Luis Suarez is easier to forgive because he is a little loco. We also have mails on Studge and more...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company