Barcelona have endured a mixed season so far with the Catalan giants starting on a level considered poor by their lofty standards. The Spanish champions have look out of sorts this season dropping five points already to Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna.

Manager Ernesto Valverde has been unable to get the new signings to gel with his existing stalwarts. This could partly be attributed to the board due to the sort of transfer window that the club experienced this season.
Valverde has had to battle with news of transfers within his camp with Brazilian ace Neymar linked with a return back all summer. He is also at a crossroads regarding the use of aging stalwarts like Sergio Busquets.

Busquets has shown signs in the past two seasons of decline and this was the major reason for the signing of Dutch maestro Frenkie De Jong in the summer. The Dutchman has been a decent signing but is yet to display the sort of form that saw major clubs fight for his services.

Another major reason for this problem has been the unavailability of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi for the first three games. The Messi factor typically means that Barcelona tends to draw games that they should lose and win games that they should draw.

Messi is regarded by many as one of the greatest in the history of the game and his presence will be a huge boost for the club after the international break. Blessed with immense natural gifts, Messi is able to dictate the tempo of games and has the ability to conjure something out of nothing.

His return should make Barcelona recover back to their best in tandem with Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann. However, it remains up to Valverde to concoct a game plan that will accommodate all three forwards.