On its social media accounts yesterday, the Madrid-based AS, a respected sports daily newspaper and website, attempted to draw readers in with a breakdown of Lionel Messi’s stats.
“Since he first started with Barcelona (2005-2006), Messi has not had as few goals this late in a LaLiga campaign despite suffering various … ,” trailed off the incomplete sub-headline in the thumbnail, but by then, the damage had been done, with some comments and replies below unimpressed by the insinuation.
In any event, though they may be statistically true, such claims that Messi has made his worst start to a season are unfair and misleading.
AS called his return of two goals in nine LaLiga games ‘very meagre’ – before then conceding that Messi hadn’t played in five of them due to a string of injuries – simply because it didn’t match up to his usually lofty standards of an average of 7.3 goals in nine matches from the start of his career.
This current commencement was then compared to a poor beginning to 2015-2016, where Messi was again crocked in round six scoring ‘only’ three goals but still ended the campaign with 26 strikes on his way to leading FCB to the domestic double.
A light has also been shone on the ‘missed chances he would usually score’, such as a one-on-one against Eibar and another ‘from point blank range’ against Slavia Prague’ in his last two outings. Messi scored in both those games however and, if we were to count the 4-0 drubbing of Sevilla before the international break, has netted in his last three outings in Blaugrana with AS themselves admitting the Argentine is ‘all set for another massive season for Barça now that the injuries seem to have subsided’.