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Free up Lionel Messi and Barcelona can make the comeback

Luis Enrique is obsessed with the idea of freeing up Messi on the pitch, giving him more space

Written by Christian Møller Poulsen. April 19, 2017

In the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal between Juventus – FC Barcelona, the Italians succeeded in locking Messi out of the game, by putting three players on him. The same thing happened in Paris, where Barcelona lost 4-0.

The opponents seem to have succeeded with their strategy of shutting Messi out of the game, making him unable to decide the game.

In the Juventus game, Messi was at times being looked after by three Juventus players, and he could not find any space. However, the Argentinian still created two goal scoring opportunities for Barca, as he found Iniesta and later Suarez inside the box, but both players missed their chances.

In tonight’s game, Barcelona needs to create space for Messi in the most decisive zones of the field.

Luis Enrique has been using the 3-4-3 lately, but might swift to a 4-3-3 like they did against Real Sociedad in the weekend.

It is not necessarily a step back, to reinforce the defensive area, as playing with two fullbacks could open the field and create space for Messi.

Messi’s stats are significant. Leo Messi has failed to score in 13 games this season, and in these particular games, Barcelona has only won 4, played 4 draws, and lost 5.

When Messi scores, Barcelona almost always wins.

However, the question isn’t whether he will score tonight, but if he can enter the play, as he becomes dangerous then. Messi is crucial for the MSN to work, and if Messi is active and finds space, Neymar and Suarez usually scores.

Juventus played a very strong tactical game in Turin, and Messi was forced into the middle of the field to receive the ball. Tonight, the idea is that he should receive the ball much closer to the decisive area of the fields.

In Barcelona, they know that it is up to Messi to create the comeback. Him and him alone can decide who goes through, as another magical night at Camp Nou would bring Barcelona into ecstasy, and the Ballon d’Or closer to the Argentinian.