With the injury to Lionel Messi that will sideline the best player on the Barcelona squad for almost two months, there have been plenty of questions about whether or not there is a tactical change coming in order to adapt to Messi's absence.
On Tuesday's press conference ahead of the Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday, coach Luis Enrique hinted at an alteration of the system due to Leo's injury:
"Every week we think about changing our system according to players missing and what we can do. We will have the same idea as with other players."
And according to reports from Mundo Deportivo, Enrique is indeed looking to make a major change to the tactical scheme, employing a classical 4-4-2 formation instead of the current 4-3-3, thus using Neymar Jr. and Luis Suárez as a striker duo. The team would look somewhat like this:
With a double-pivot pairing of Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andrés Iniesta will have plenty of freedom to go forward and help the superstar strikers. With two defensive midfielders on the pitch, the two offensive-minded full-backs would also have plenty of liberty to attack and add a lot of width to the offensive plays. This almost becomes a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Neymar coming back to the midfield a lot and play behind the striker as a true number 10, a role in which he already performed well with the Brazilian national team.
Using that scheme, Lucho can have Sandro Ramírez and Munir El-Haddadi on the bench to add a little more depth to the attack instead of using a trio on the front-line.
A cool variation of this system, which is also being considered by Enrique, is this one:
That features Sergi Roberto at right-back, with Mascherano coming back to the back-line, Rakitic as a DM and Dani Alves on the secondary level. With the Brazilian there, this can change in various ways, from a more traditional 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 with Iniesta and Neymar switching spots behind Suárez or even a return to the usual 4-3-3, taking advantage of Alves' attacking skills. Plus, with Roberto as a right-back, Alves wouldn't have too many defensive responsibilities, which is good news. This second formation also features a more creative midfield, with Rakitic as a DM instead of Mascherano.
What do you think of this variations, Blaugranes? Is this a good idea from Lucho to cope with Messi's absence?