Trident interruptus

On matchday 16 of the league, Barça beat Mallorca 5-2. Messi made a hat-trick and Suarez and Griezmann also scored in the 85 minutes they shared on the field. On matchday 17, Barça tied two against Real. Griezmann and Suárez scored. And on matchday 18, against Alavés, all three scored again. The new trident was taking off … but Suarez was injured. The Uruguayan's crack against Atlético in the Super Cup, where the three had returned to play at a high level (Messi and Griezmann scored), has prevented them from playing together again. This season at Barça has been a “trident interruptus”.

Messi, Suárez and Griezmann have only coincided 820 minutes on the pitch in twelve LaLiga games. Only 33.74 percent of the 2,430 that have been played in the championship. With all three on the pitch, Messi has scored eight goals, Suarez seven and Griezmann, five of the eight he has in the championship. But injuries, first from Messi at the start of the season, and then from Suárez at the end of the first lap, have prevented them from getting together more just when.

The performance of the trident was one of the great morbidities at the beginning of the season. But he made himself wait, because Messi did not go on the US tour and did not make his debut at San Mamés. The beginning, moreover, was something sui generis. After playing just half an hour together in Dortmund, the first time they met in the official league match was in Granada. Valverde, who had decided to reserve the Argentine, had to put him on the field at halftime, 1-0. Barça lost. The first happy day of the trident in LaLiga was in Eibar. 0-3, with a goal from each of the actors. But it was at the end of November (match against Dortmund) and at the beginning of December, with the sequence of matches indicated against Mallorca, Real and Alavés, that the take-off seemed definitive.

It is one of the great challenges of this end of course Barça. And it is one of the great challenges of Setién. Get them to mix well and feed back. The Messi-Suarez connection no one can doubt. They know each other by heart. Griezmann, an empathetic player who has made a good impression in the locker room against the prediction of many foremen, was gradually entering that tune. His goal against Getafe with a memory move to receive from Messi, or his connection with Suárez in Anoeta, had given reasons for hope for Barça. Everything was cut off with Suárez's injury. The pandemic hiatus gives them a second chance. The first objective will be to avoid injuries. That will increase the cruising speed of a trident that may be far from the one that impressed the world in 2015 and 2016, but which should not be doubted either.