So the World Cup is to blame for Robert Lewandowski’s poor form.
According to the Polish marksman - and I use the term liberally here (given his current form) - his ‘rhythm’ has been disrupted.
Sorry, but I’m not buying it.
Supposedly a world class exponent in the striking art, he’s done little of late to justify such a tag.
In the last 14 games in all competitions alone, he’s played 90 minutes in 13 of them and 74 minutes in the other. More than enough football to blow the cobwebs away.
During that time, he’s scored two goals against a dead and buried Elche side, one each against Cadiz and Betis, and one at Man United.
That’s simply nowhere close to being good enough for a main striker of his standing.
Let’s not forget that he cost the not insignificant sum of €50m, so it is right to expect much more from Barca’s main man.
Maybe there’s also an element of old age creeping up on him because although Lewandowski is clearly fit for 34, he isn’t particularly quick from a standing start or otherwise.
His associative play is often laboured and there’s a lack of positional nous unless a ball into the box is delivered on a plate right to him. Indeed, it’s not unfair to suggest he can be a little statuesque at times.
Where is the expected first-class movement? The dropping of the shoulder to give him half a yard of space? The runs off the last defender to pick up the balls over the top?
If we want to argue that all of the above doesn’t apply to him, that he was specifically brought in to score goals, he’s not really done that of late either has he?!
So how do you solve a problem like Robert Lewandowski?
To try and balance out the argument a little and to be fair to him, maybe he does also need his fellow attackers to be doing much more to help him.
It’s become noticeable just how often the likes of Ansu Fati and Raphinha pick the wrong option and we see an attack break down.
Perhaps with a more creative presence either side of Lewandowski, his own shortcomings won’t be as noticeable for a start.
The wide men or supplementary attackers can be pushed by Xavi to work the openings for the striker.
Lewandowski’s own game can then, potentially, be elevated to the level he was at during the first months of the campaign.
Even that’s a long shot at this point but let’s try and be positive...