FLAW IN THE MAKE-UP: Guardiola has been fortunate to have Messi, Iniesta and Xavi fit and available on a consistent basis throughout his time as Barca boss, but we have yet to discover whether his side would continue to thrive amid an injury crisis.I grant you that Messi, Iniesta, and Xavi have not all been simultaneously laid low by a bout of staph infection [furiously knocking on wood], but the latter two have both been limited by injuries at different points over the past two seasons, and Messi did miss a few weeks at the beginning of last year for the ankle problem. But more to the point, how about the defense? Two backline starters were out for basically the second half of last year. Two oft-used substitutes (Maxwell and Adriano, who was actually a regular starter by then) also went out for the year toward the end of the season. A pair of holding midfielders were given significant time at center back, with Mascherano starting in the Champions League final. There were essentially three healthy backliners on the roster for that game, with one of them just returning from cancer surgery. If that wasn't an injury crisis, I don't know what is.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Odd Knock on Barcelona
From Soccernet's Champions League preview: