Why Paco Alcacer Should Replace Luis Suarez In The Barcelona Starting Line-Up
Against one of the weaker teams in Barcelona’s Champions League group, with respect to Sporting CP, Luis Suarez was still unable to produce anything like the form we know he is capable of.
Since Neymar’s departure and Ernesto Valverde’s subsequent repositioning of the striker, slightly off to the left of centre, the Uruguayan has struggled badly.
It’s not even the fact that he’s not scoring which is the real problem, although clearly that needs to be addressed too.
No, for the last few months, Suarez has looked nowhere close to the predatory marksmen that he was as recently as last season. He is laboured in his work and his current form is closer to that of Paco Alcacer’s when he arrived at the club.
Coincidentally, the roles have reversed somewhat. Now, the former Valencia striker is scoring goals for fun whenever he’s been given the chance of a starting berth for the blaugrana – which isn’t too often it must be said.
Like Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, Valverde seems unwilling or unable to drop his biggest stars, despite being well below par. No one is suggesting a period out of the side for Suarez needs to be long-term, but a freshening up of the front line for a game or two may be just what is required.
Alcacer has certainly done enough to warrant a run in the side. Aside from finding the net on a regular basis, his movement has been sharp and incisive and he’s looked dangerous both at set pieces and more generally.
Still some way off of his best, he is at least in form and at a crucial moment of the season.
Goals win games and if Barcelona can defeat Villarreal and Real Madrid in their two away fixtures before Christmas, as well as Depor at home, they’re well set to hammer home their advantage in the early part of the new year.
Valverde is a sensible and pragmatic coach, and 22 games unbeaten in all competitions speaks of a coach that always makes the right decision. Which makes the continued backing of Suarez all the more difficult to understand.
El Pistolero has had long enough now to prove to the doubters that it was just a blip. It isn’t. His confidence is shot to pieces and chances that would normally be gobbled up are going wide, over the bar, being cleared…
It’s time to see the man in form being given a chance rather than the man who has the big name. Barca’s season might just depend on it.
Barcelona visit Villarreal in La Liga on Sunday (Kick-Off 7.45pm) - Follow the action via our live match centre.