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Why Luis Suarez is struggling in Ernesto Valverde’s new-look Barcelona

The striker is isolated and lacking support

Valencia v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images

Luis Suárez is a man all alone.

In a season full of the unexpected for Football Club Barcelona, Luis Suárez has gone from a veritable superstar to a struggling has-been in the eyes of his most ardent critics but why?

There’s no singular definitive answer to such a question but beyond the usual suspects of age and injury lies one possibility for Suárez’s poor form and it has more to do with the team’s new style of play than anything else.

Neymar was a big loss for the Blaugrana and Suárez alike but perhaps the biggest misfortune for the star forward this season occurred when Ousmane Dembele went down with injury.

The loss of the French youngster has seen coach Ernesto Valverde implement some changes to his team’s formation and in doing so has left Suárez to ply his trade virtually all alone up front.

Without an attacking player on each wing, Suárez has become an easier mark for defenders this season. No longer does he have the luxury of space, instead he’s forced to try and create his own chances and hold up the ball for his team. It hasn’t panned out well.

Last year’s Golden Shoe winner has scored five goals in La Liga this year and whilst it’s fair to say his health isn’t perfect there’s little doubt that it’s also a by-product of this new-look Barca team.

Valverde’s tactics may not have produced the most exciting brand of football but the team is flying high in La Liga and has advanced comfortably in the Champions League so it’s clear that his tactics are paying off but Suárez isn’t achieving the same kind of success individually.

Not only is he not scoring, the Uruguayan has consistently mistimed his runs resulting in him leading the five major leagues in being caught offside.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. With Barcelona winning on a consistent basis it’s unlikely that Suárez loses any playing time and with Dembele set to return soon, he will find himself back in a more comfortable role within the team.

I’m willing to bet we haven’t seen the last of Luis Suárez’s goalscoring feats.

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