Disclaimer right away: This article is by no means a criticism of Javier Mascherano. He is a living legend at the club and one of my favorite players ever. The six years he’s been a member of the team have been fruitful – 18 trophies – and he’s been a great contributor to winning. He’s not afraid to get down and dirty defensively and has brought grit to our back line. But he’s essentially been playing out of position for six years. Which is why it’s not blasphemy, in my opinion, to suggest he ought to be replaced by Samuel Umtiti.
There has been a lot of finger-pointing going around since our loss to Celta Vigo. A lot of it has come Marc-André Ter Stegen’s way. And sure, he made yet another crucial mistake that cost us points, on a weekend where Real Madrid had dropped points and had presented us an opportunity to make up the points deficit. And sure, this is definitely not the first time Marc has done something of the sort. And yet again, sure, Claudio Bravo was mostly immune to any such mistakes (as we saw on his Manchester City debut). But is it fair to put so much blame on one man?
Much has been made of Sergio Busquets’ recent performances. After all, his form has been rather patchy, to say the least- similarly to that of his team. For the most part, Sergi has been at his brilliant best. That being said, some of his performances have raised some concerns. A pattern has started recently, whereby teams playing a high-intensity press system have managed to make life difficult for Busi. But why? Surely, Busquets has come up against dozens, if not hundreds of teams, employing such a system.