Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

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Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by messixaviesta on Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:03 pm

I suppose many Barcelona fans have had this question in their minds for the last several hours and are feeling immensely pained by it.

Do I know the answer to this question? Yes and no. I can think of a few things but overall I am mystified. I certainly cannot claim to have seen this coming.

Where do we start? MSN. Three roaring tigers last year. No one stood a chance against them. What about right now? In my native language they would say all three have smelt a snake. Or maybe in more conventional terms I can say they seem drugged and half asleep due to that. I don't think I had imagined that a day would come when all three of them would give such a listless performance for the entire duration in the same match and that too such an important match. I was pretty much dumbfounded by what I was watching last night. They do look very tired but is that all it is or is there something mentally wrong with them as well.

When was the last time Messi played in a game in which it seemed like he couldn't care less? Some misguided Argentina fans might point to some of his games for his nation but for Barcelona it must have been a long time. The Messi who likes being so involved in a game that quite often he is not content to stay in the forward line and tends to drop back into midfield to the extent that the natural game of one or more midfielders is hampered, last night seemed like he intentionally wanted to stay out of the game.  

Suarez. I have said before that I think arguably in Luis Enrique's team he is a tad bit more important than even Messi. He is the glue that holds the whole thing together. When he is not on the pitch or below his best level we don't look half as good as we look otherwise. Well suddenly for reasons not known to me he slumped and slumped really badly. Last night be barely won the ball in the box comfortably handled by Atletico midfielders and on the one or two occasions that he did succeed his shooting would have shamed school boys.

Neymar at this moment may just be an iota better than the other two but that's hardly saying anything. Neymar and Suarez disappointed me for one more reason. They presented such a miserable picture of sore losers when they kicked their opponents for no rhyme or reason. Xavi and Iniesta also suffered disappointing defeats in the heydays but they never behaved like this. Another point worth mentioning is that MSN should have been rested more often during the season. Part of it may be due to lack of quality replacements and the other reason could be simply their arrogance and stubbornness that they must play every match.

Iniesta. Even as his greatest fan I guess it's time to admit that his days are done. His last great performance was in the Classico last year and since then there's been next to nothing. He could perhaps have another great game like that some time but it's quite clear that he cannot do it for an entire season any more. This summer midfielders are perhaps obviously our top priority, at least two top quality young midfielders. It might even make sense for Iniesta to move on this summer. One point I'll say in his favor though and that is that even though he didn't play well at all last night he kept trying something or the other to help the team throughout the match which is more than I can say about some other players who were on the pitch wearing the Barca shirt last night.

Rakitic. Brilliant last season. Took to our team like a fish takes to water and brought some important qualities that were really needed. This season we have seen much less of it and last night he had maybe one or two touches of the ball before being replaced. His prime time at Barca seems to have ended almost as soon as it had begun.

Luis Enrique. I don't want to take away all his credit in all that has been achieved but one question I have been asking myself since last night. How many matches can we count in which things were not going Barca's way and Enrique managed to turn it around by substitutions and/or tactical changes? After all that he has done it would make sense to give him one more season at least with one more summer to rebuild but the jury will be out this time. Not sure how many would agree but I thought the substitution of Dani Alves last night was a mistake. It weakened our right side. After all which player do we have in the entire squad who can command the right flank in an attacking and defensive sense as well as him in such crucial moments?

Overall while as I said before I am mostly mystified by what has happened what I can see is that the team seems to lacking energy and stamina big time. Last year lightning fast counter attacks were our key strength but right now we are just too slow. We are also trying to pass much more and go for more build up play but without Pep and Xavi it's just not working half as well. So lack of speed and stamina and the dreadful slump in form of the entire MSN trio is in a nutshell what I think ails the team right now. Almost everyone at this forum had said that spending E40m on Arda Turan is monstrous stupidity and it's hardly a surprise that we all have been proven so dead right.

Losing the Classico at home must have been a heavy psychological blow but it's worth wondering why even that loss happened in the first place since that's when this slump was so clearly noticeable and since then there's been no sign of anything improving. Even in the first leg against Atletico we were lucky to win due to Fernando Torres' stupidity.

In spite of the tone in which this post has been written the intention is not to come off as ungrateful and just try to blame everyone. Last season was a case of over-achievement and this season is likely to be a case of under-achievement. A few months back I had read some claims at this forum that Enrique's team is invincible. Guess those minds would have been changed for good now.

These are just my thoughts. I don't expect others to agree with me wholeheartedly. I am really interested in reading a wide variety of thoughts on this matter from different forum members but I would humbly request that it doesn't lead to bitter confrontations between Barca fans. As we celebrate success together let us also accept failure as one. Should this be called a failure? I would say so since a month back we were by far the favorites for the UCL trophy and we are now out in the quarter finals. The league seems much more difficult to attain right now when a few weeks back it was considered pretty much a foregone conclusion that we would win it.

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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by futbol on Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:32 am

1. Half the team travelling to South America for official WC qualifying games, immediately followed by a tough schedule. Real and Atletico are both top 5 teams in the world and we played them 3 times in quick succession + our boogey team Real Sociedad in Anoeta. Doesn't get harder than that from a Barca perspective and it happened after an intl. break. Look what happened to Real Madrid against a completely average team like Wolfsburg a few days after the Clasico. That's what tiredness does to you at this level and our team played significantly more games this season, travelled significantly further away in the recent intl. break and faced significantly tougher opposition with a lot less squad depth.

2. Neymar played football for 3 months, then got disinterested and got more interested in Poker, partying etc. Ronaldinho mentality without reaching a quarter of the success of Ronaldinho. € 190M buys us Reus + Pogba comfortably, don't even know what we are waiting for, most logical business in the history of sports. Laughing In 2 - 3 years he'll be worth Robinho money. Get on the phone with the PSG president.

3. Messi with disgraceful fitness levels for a professional athlete. Can't wait to see him with 32 when he's already like this in 2 out of the last 3 seasons with 28.

The 3 main problems. Not rocket science.

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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by Adit on Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:08 am

Like many pointed out, Atletico took advantage of Rakitic. Barca barely kept the ball in midfield in the first 60 minutes and MSN were starved of the ball. Messi initially played wide but dropped deep when he got frustrated with the midfield. Can you blame him?

Imo this game ,Atletico took advantage of your midfield which is a far cry from the prime Barcelona midfield, not even close even if the missing personnel is only one.

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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by eelir on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:29 am

Simply tiredness and eagerness to beat RM again instead of playing it smart.

I discussed this with my friends extensively and told them before all this happened (perhaps mentioned even here) that this is the strategy LE should use in the following matches:

We should have not pulled off key players in Vileareal match and kept the lead at all costs, because there the players were more or less fresh. We might have gotten 2 points plus in la liga.

After the Fifa brake, *bleep* classico and play kids for the tired traveling players and let them recuperate for the most important game here - home tie with ATM. But, no we went full strength - full retard because that wasn't the full strength team having half fit players! So, we tire the stars even more and get spanked anyhow.

Form then one it's history. LE needed to be a bit more pragmatic, and he went with feelings in this which cost us CL, and can cause us the League as well!

EDIT:
I found this in the Barca VS RM thread
@eelir wrote:Well a 9 men RM scoring in Camp Nou. This is why i thought we should have played Vilareal full strength and get 3 points and play kids in this game so we are ready for ATM. Now, getting tired for CL is gonna be a banana skin.
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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by messixaviesta on Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:51 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I agree about the midfield. In fact I myself said that the midfield cannot be the same as the orchestra of a few years back without Pep and Xavi.

However Luis Enrique's super-successful side of last season did not have Xavi as a prime component, at times not even in the first team. I am more interested in comparing this listless team of today with the dominating team of last year's UCL final and Classico to name just two matches.

Whether wide or deep Messi was just too ineffective and that is so unlike him. Certainly his game suffered due to how the rest of the team played but he has so often been the one to show the way, the one to just take things in his own hands irrespective of which position he has to play and how he has to make the others play around him. In this match I hardly saw him even try to do anything like that. Was it the coach's instruction? Was Messi just too worn out? Or is there something more to it?

Pragmatically speaking we should have rested players but which Barca (or Madrid) coach would dare to rest players in a Classico, no matter what the league situation is? I am not sure how much I can blame Enrique for that. Madrid also played their best team in the Classico. They have managed the fatigue factor better but why? We have a smaller squad than them? We played those extra matches, especially the exhausting Club World Cup? Both valid reasons but I don't think they are quite enough to suggest that we just couldn't have handled the business end of the season better.

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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by Lucifer on Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:55 pm

We burned out by playing same 11 throughout season. Nothing else imo.

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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by BarcaLearning on Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:08 pm

I have some of the same feelings but I gotta say it is still too much of an overaction, combined with a bit of what do u call, over expectation due to so many success over so man years for us?

For example u just expect the team to be like with Pep ans Xavi, they are gone and as much as the club want to relica a player like Xavi, hes just one of a kind, to reach his level anyway. So the team has to learn to play a bit differently.

Apart from the factors mentioned by the others, lets not forget just how well Atletico played. Remember clearly even back when we got knocked out by Inter and Chelsea, I would something similar happened, in that the opponent had a clear strategy which they carried out to perfection and we were not able to react and counter it I suppose. Plus a bit of luck factor, the recent slump in form and Atletico's energy shown. We lost in the end again after a ref's call that could have given us to goto extra time at least, remember the missed hand ball vs Inter I think it was.

So I think we should just be able to accept this and not act like its end of the world, its just part of football. You just cant always wins.
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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by alexjanosik on Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:32 pm

@messixaviesta wrote:I suppose many Barcelona fans have had this question in their minds for the last several hours and are feeling immensely pained by it.

Do I know the answer to this question? Yes and no. I can think of a few things but overall I am mystified. I certainly cannot claim to have seen this coming.

Where do we start? MSN. Three roaring tigers last year. No one stood a chance against them. What about right now? In my native language they would say all three have smelt a snake. Or maybe in more conventional terms I can say they seem drugged and half asleep due to that. I don't think I had imagined that a day would come when all three of them would give such a listless performance for the entire duration in the same match and that too such an important match. I was pretty much dumbfounded by what I was watching last night. They do look very tired but is that all it is or is there something mentally wrong with them as well.

When was the last time Messi played in a game in which it seemed like he couldn't care less? Some misguided Argentina fans might point to some of his games for his nation but for Barcelona it must have been a long time. The Messi who likes being so involved in a game that quite often he is not content to stay in the forward line and tends to drop back into midfield to the extent that the natural game of one or more midfielders is hampered, last night seemed like he intentionally wanted to stay out of the game.  

Suarez. I have said before that I think arguably in Luis Enrique's team he is a tad bit more important than even Messi. He is the glue that holds the whole thing together. When he is not on the pitch or below his best level we don't look half as good as we look otherwise. Well suddenly for reasons not known to me he slumped and slumped really badly. Last night be barely won the ball in the box comfortably handled by Atletico midfielders and on the one or two occasions that he did succeed his shooting would have shamed school boys.

Neymar at this moment may just be an iota better than the other two but that's hardly saying anything. Neymar and Suarez disappointed me for one more reason. They presented such a miserable picture of sore losers when they kicked their opponents for no rhyme or reason. Xavi and Iniesta also suffered disappointing defeats in the heydays but they never behaved like this. Another point worth mentioning is that MSN should have been rested more often during the season. Part of it may be due to lack of quality replacements and the other reason could be simply their arrogance and stubbornness that they must play every match.

Iniesta. Even as his greatest fan I guess it's time to admit that his days are done. His last great performance was in the Classico last year and since then there's been next to nothing. He could perhaps have another great game like that some time but it's quite clear that he cannot do it for an entire season any more. This summer midfielders are perhaps obviously our top priority, at least two top quality young midfielders. It might even make sense for Iniesta to move on this summer. One point I'll say in his favor though and that is that even though he didn't play well at all last night he kept trying something or the other to help the team throughout the match which is more than I can say about some other players who were on the pitch wearing the Barca shirt last night.

Rakitic. Brilliant last season. Took to our team like a fish takes to water and brought some important qualities that were really needed. This season we have seen much less of it and last night he had maybe one or two touches of the ball before being replaced. His prime time at Barca seems to have ended almost as soon as it had begun.

Luis Enrique. I don't want to take away all his credit in all that has been achieved but one question I have been asking myself since last night. How many matches can we count in which things were not going Barca's way and Enrique managed to turn it around by substitutions and/or tactical changes? After all that he has done it would make sense to give him one more season at least with one more summer to rebuild but the jury will be out this time. Not sure how many would agree but I thought the substitution of Dani Alves last night was a mistake. It weakened our right side. After all which player do we have in the entire squad who can command the right flank in an attacking and defensive sense as well as him in such crucial moments?

Overall while as I said before I am mostly mystified by what has happened what I can see is that the team seems to lacking energy and stamina big time. Last year lightning fast counter attacks were our key strength but right now we are just too slow. We are also trying to pass much more and go for more build up play but without Pep and Xavi it's just not working half as well. So lack of speed and stamina and the dreadful slump in form of the entire MSN trio is in a nutshell what I think ails the team right now. Almost everyone at this forum had said that spending E40m on Arda Turan is monstrous stupidity and it's hardly a surprise that we all have been proven so dead right.

Losing the Classico at home must have been a heavy psychological blow but it's worth wondering why even that loss happened in the first place since that's when this slump was so clearly noticeable and since then there's been no sign of anything improving. Even in the first leg against Atletico we were lucky to win due to Fernando Torres' stupidity.

In spite of the tone in which this post has been written the intention is not to come off as ungrateful and just try to blame everyone. Last season was a case of over-achievement and this season is likely to be a case of under-achievement. A few months back I had read some claims at this forum that Enrique's team is invincible. Guess those minds would have been changed for good now.

These are just my thoughts. I don't expect others to agree with me wholeheartedly. I am really interested in reading a wide variety of thoughts on this matter from different forum members but I would humbly request that it doesn't lead to bitter confrontations between Barca fans. As we celebrate success together let us also accept failure as one. Should this be called a failure? I would say so since a month back we were by far the favorites for the UCL trophy and we are now out in the quarter finals. The league seems much more difficult to attain right now when a few weeks back it was considered pretty much a foregone conclusion that we would win it.


I can name 100 games from the last 4 years where he has played as if he couldnt care less.
Forget one game. How about the past 4 games? How about the last 6,7 Clasico's? How about the league decider 2 seasons back against Atletico when he put in a shameful performance( Tata's last game)? How about the CL games that season when we were again dumped by Atletico?
I read a stat that he ran(walked would be closer to the truth) 7 km against Atletico on Wednesday. And therein lies the answer to your question.
Against a team as intense and with as much quality as Atletico(where every player runs like a demon and plays as if his life depends on it), you cant have one player slacking and walking around as if he owns the pitch.
It is a recipe for disaster and proved so.
He is a clear liability and it is time to see the writing on the wall. The writing has been on the wall for 4 seasons. Pep saw it 4 years back and decided to wisely jump ship.
We get rid of him for a ton of money, buy an elite forward replacement, an elite CM, an elite defender.
We go straight back to the top.

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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by messixaviesta on Sun Apr 24, 2016 4:17 pm

Very interesting replies friends. I am finding it hard to form very definitive opinions myself and after all that success I don't want to be too critical. Two points I keep repeating. One is that I understand completely that Xavi is irreplaceable but last season we learned to play differently and did so very well. This season I have seen a tendency to try playing more in the Pep way so to say but obviously not managing it that well without Pep and Xavi. As mentioned earlier one reason for this could be the lack of stamina for lightning fast counter-attacks that were such a big part of our success last season. The other point is Luis Suarez. Why did he have to go off the boil at such a crucial time because last week he came back in form and immediately the difference can be felt so clearly! As for Messi not working hard enough I think we hardly saw any of that in the second half of last season. It's worth wondering if his and/or the team's motivation levels fell in the business end of this season and if yes then why.

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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by danyjr on Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:53 pm

@Lucifer wrote:We burned out by playing same 11 throughout season. Nothing else imo.

Basically this. And it is Enrique's fault.

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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by Kebab on Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:16 pm

Only difference from last season was all front three played full 90 minutes every match. At the end they have no energy to end the season.Messi walks and saves his energy but other 2 should be rested in useless matches, especially Neymar.he is too weak to play 60 games a season without a rest
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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by Sivart on Wed May 11, 2016 3:03 am

I think it was tiredness, plus fifa virus and the loss to madrid. I think a false sense of security about la liga, as if it was already won, contributed as well. The unbeaten streak too. It got to the players head. They probably thought to be invincible, with a streak like that after a treble season.
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Re: Why Did This Dramatic And Unexpected Slump Happen?

Post by messixaviesta on Sat May 14, 2016 10:33 am

Yes it was sudden. From unquestionably world's best team to not even in the UCL last four. Disappointing and somewhat shocking.

We must at least win La Liga today. Else this season will be a complete disaster.

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