As a collective team performance by Barcelona, it was just about on the side of acceptable.
The Blaugranes got the job done, and given the funk they’ve found themselves in this season, it was a welcome three points against a sprightly Villarreal side.
What’s worrying, however, is that there will be far more difficult sides for Barca to face, with the greatest respect to the Yellow Submarine.
Ernesto Valverde really does have his work cut out at the moment if he wants his team to be challenging throughout the campaign.
Of course, he does have the power to alter the dynamic... as long as he’s willing to be brave.
Look at Dembele.. how do you bench someone that gives you something different & precious for someone that not only gives nothing, but takes away so much. Like Rakitic, people will start hating on Suarez now & rightly so. Thanks to Valverde— Xana de mi vida (@MoRosement) September 24, 2019
One decision he could, and should, take immediately is relegating Luis Suarez to the bench.
El Pistolero is a fantastic finisher as we’ve seen already this season, but his contribution elsewhere on the pitch has been found wanting.
His pace is virtually non-existent now, and Barca can’t afford to carry him when he’s offering nothing more than cursory associative play.
Dembélé makes a spectacular pass to Luis Suarez, a striker who unfortunately can't shoot.— Barcelona Worldwide (@BarcaWorldwide) September 24, 2019
Though we’ve yet to see it, a front three of Ousmane Dembele, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann would certainly get the juices flowing.
With all of the pressure on the young Frenchman’s shoulders, Dembele gave one of his better performances in a Barca shirt. Indeed, the hosts looked much sharper as a result.
Before the Uruguayan departed for Ansu Fati - more on him later - it was difficult for him to find space, and he proceeded to get in Griezmann’s way as the other Frenchman looked to get more involved.
A suggestion that Suarez being one of the dressing room ‘heavyweights’ is what keeps him from being a second choice under Valverde s beginning to look like it’s not without foundation.
But on the basis of his sluggish performance against Villarreal, it’s impossible to argue his case to remain as a starter against Getafe.
Luis Suárez DOES NOT LOOK HAPPY to be taken off. He had better get used to it though... #BarcaVillarreal— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) September 24, 2019
Griezmann as a false nine, Messi coming in from the right and Dembele from the left, is a front three that has balance, pace and creativity to it.
Then we have the luxury of bringing on a player in Fati who is absolutely without fear, and can run a tired defence ragged later in games.
And it just changed the profile of the game..— Shaba (@Shaba_sheikh) September 24, 2019
It’s a vibrant quartet, and that’s not a description you’d associate with Suarez at this point.
Some time spent out of the side, as far as a starting position is concerned, is the right call, but will the coach dare risk the wrath of Messi et al?
If Barca want to win something this year, and based on the evidence seen so far in 2019/20, then he must.
Something has got to give.