Whether culers care to admit it or not, Ansu-dependence is a reality now for Barcelona.
Perhaps Barca’s need, certainly at this point, is more acute, though Ansu Fati is clearly comfortable with the responsibility of leading this team, even if he isn’t wearing the armband.
His was an understated performance for the most part in Kiev. Busy if not too effective. However, like all good strikers, he popped up at the vital moment and there was venom in the shot which proved to be the eventual winning goal.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but that goal could end up becoming one of the most important of his career.
A win against Benfica puts Barca through to the knockout stages, by which time there’ll likely be a new manager and one or two new faces in situ, hopefully playing a style that the club are renowned for.
Ideally, the team will be in much better shape come March 2022 than they are at this point.
As with a number of his young colleagues, it’s a delight to watch Ansu’s growth as a footballer. To see him mature before our very eyes.
It’s vital that he is allowed to ‘breathe’ and play his natural game too, without fear of having the wrath of the fanbase weighing down heavily upon his shoulders if he has a bad game or two.
Given that it’s hoped he will make improvements year on year, can you imagine how frightening a striker he could well become in 4-5 years time?!
Personally, I still see Ansu as a centre-forward rather than coming in off the left. He has all of the attributes to be a success in that role, thereby freeing up another place in a front three for another whippet-fast winger in the mould of Ousmane Dembele.
Regardless of where Xavi or any other manager sees him in a front three, injury permitting, he is a fixture. Ansu + 2 up front.
It really doesn’t matter a jot that he is having to propel the team forward at present, because there’ll be times when others have to carry that particular baton.
His commitment can’t be questioned either, given that he chose to stay with the club when he could’ve moved elsewhere for significantly more money.
Ansu-dependence might well be the new reality, but let’s try framing it more positively in future.