Football

Barcelona’s lack of squad depth could cost them La Liga title

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When Fernando Torres broke the deadlock at the Vincente Calderon against Barcelona, Luis Enrique must have looked at his bench and thought how on earth he can rely on these players to bring his side back into the game.

Suspensions, injuries and a summer transfer ban forced Enrique to have a severely weakened bench, with only Lionel Messi being the only player with the experience and ability to turn the game on its head.

Messi was perhaps surprisingly left on the bench against Atletico due to the fact he had not trained in over two weeks because of international duty, as well as the birth of his second child.

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Yet even a half-fit Messi still has the magic to turn the tide of the game and score the winning goal with 10 minutes to go.

The only senior attacking players at Barcelona is Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, albeit far from a poor front-line, if one of them is missing due to a lengthy injury, then Enrique could really be in trouble. No longer is there a player like Pedro to call upon.

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Does Enrique have enough options?

With the Champions League starting again this week, managers across the continent will be rotating players and utilising their squads so that their players avoid injuries and fatigue.

It is unrealistic for Enrique not to rotate players such as Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic, but until Dani Alves can return to right-back, then Sergio Roberto is there only other recognisable midfielder, or perhaps Javier Mascherano could be moved further forward if necessary.  

Despite what appears to be a lack of depth at Barcelona, they remain the only side with a 100% record with nine points out of nine. Yet their rivals have far better squad depth than that of the Catalan side. For example, Real Madrid started Pepe and Isco against Espanyol, whilst giving the likes of Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos a rest.

Even Atletico Madrid have better depth; with Simeone having a very productive summer transfer window whereby he recruited players such as Luciano Vietto, Jackson Martinez and Yannick Carrasco, which have all yet to really feature this year.

With Barcelona simply unable to rest any of their senior players until Arda Turan and Alexi Vidal can legally join the club in January; Enrique may struggle to keep his side fully fit.

They will have to last 14 La Liga games, six Champions League ties, a few rounds of the Copa del Rey, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup; Barcelona could find themselves doing a balancing act and just simply remain in contention until they can strengthen in the New Year.

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Topics:
Football
La Liga
Lionel Messi
Barcelona

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