If the CL this season is anything to go by, it's that Barcelona are definitely not the force they once were. They're not the team that would turn up to the Bernabau as overwhelming favourites and demolish them 5-1, or the team to dominant recent CL history, or the team that was labelled the greatest side of all time. It's more or less proven that without Messi they are a LOT worse. Whilst that is obvious - as he's potentially the GOAT - it's still somewhat a problem. How would you address the Barcelona issue? My theories are below. Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Show Spoiler Hide Spoiler Personally, I think they need to reinvest in wingers. Villa is not a winger, and Alexis is a poor one - or is certainly not up to par currently anyway. Players like Bale, Neymar (who I think will go there this summer) and James Rodrigieuz can certainly help them offensively. It takes the load off Messi, and gives them other options. There is still one huge issue though, and it's their size. On more than a few occasions the height of the team leaves them so open from set plays, and they're constantly conceding crappy goals. Their goalkeeper is horrible, but that in itself is no excuse. Their rivals however have addressed this. Real Madrid are underrated in terms of how good their football sometimes is, but they have no such issues with set pieces. They aren't a team of midgets, but are comfortable playing with the ball. You do not have to be small to be excellent in possession. Sergio Busquets doesn't give them enough defensive cover imo, and while he is one of the best passers of the ball in world football, he definitely isn't the raw CDM they need. They've also made famous the 4-3-3 system with the triangular midfield. One CDM (Sergio), and two creative passing CM's (Iniesta, Xavi). This should and could change for games it needs to. If you're at home, then sure, go full out attacking with this 4-3-3 style that has served you well. But against bigger teams, or teams that are seriously just going to park the bus, perhaps play the 4-2-3-1 system. It allows you to still have a very attacking front four (let's say Neymar, Messi, Iniesta, and Alexis) while still having good defensive cover (a deeper Xavi, Sergio, or perhaps Sergio + a new CM acquisition [Wilshere would be perfect, lol]). There is a reason why this formation is increasingly popular. Some have complained about a lack of a plan B, and I agree, but I don't necessarily agree with the "let's buy a big man" philosophy, as that has failed in the past with them. Barcelona don't cross the ball often, so having a big guy for the crosses makes no sense. But a big guy like Lewandowski, who is excellent ON the ball, could be the answer. You could put Messi a bit deeper and have Lewandowski play off him, but this works only with the 4-2-3-1 formation. If you used this with the 4-3-3 system, you would have to sacrifice a winger, or put Messi wide (stupid mistake).