Although culers should be far from worried as to the destination of the league title, the lack of belief and fight in the last few performances has been odd to say the least.
It’s as if a boxer knows he’s going to win on points anyway having done enough in the early rounds so he’ll just milk the latter rounds because he can. Woe betide him if someone comes with an unexpected knock out blow mind.
That’s where Barca find themselves at present. Cruising to some long overdue silverware, but posturing and not really taking charge of games.
Someone needs to remind the players that the season doesn’t end for a few weeks yet and this is FC Barcelona we are talking about. There’s a certain level that all players accept that they must aspire to.
Perhaps the expected return of Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele will shake up the dressing room a little.
All three should be champing at the bit to get back in the starting line and, for various reasons the trio should bring some semblance of controlled attacked football with them.
Forget the fact that the Blaugranes have found goals hard to come by of late, what’s of more concern is a lack of direction or control within matches.
Getafe were there for the taking in truth, however, there was no creativity from the front men, a serious lack of movement and some really, really poor passing during the 90 minutes.
Frenkie should bring some drive to the midfield and break the lines of what’s expected to be a tightly-packed Atleti defence. The Dutchman was in fine form before his injury and will hopefully pick up where he left off.
Pedri’s ability to slow down games and set the tempo has been sorely missed, and it would be a huge surprise if he wasn’t the fulcrum of Barca’s performance on Sunday.
His seamless transitions from the midfield into attack is one of the hallmarks of Xavi’s Barca and should see the Blaugranes have the lion’s share of possession once again.
How will Dembele fare after so long out again? Will his hamstrings stand up to the devastating pace from a standing start against overly physical opposition? Only one way to find out.
The Frenchman has to be unleashed. Using his incredible speed to unsettle a tough opponent in Atleti, but one who find defending against players with pace difficult to deal with at times.
Where Raphinha has been reticent or unable to beat his man, Dembele needs to show the kind of form we were witness to before his untimely exit.
If all three are on their game, there’s only one winner and the title moves ever close.