FC Barcelona will face Sporting Gijón this weekend without Leo Messi, who is suspended after getting his fifth yellow card of the season at the Vicente Calderón. But this is nothing new for Josep Guardiola, who had to solve an identical situation last season.
From Atlético to Sporting
Last year, an Ujfalusi tackle on Messi meant the latter had to retire from the game, which Barça still won 2-1. Like last year, the next game was against Sporting at the Camp Nou, which was won thanks to a goal from Villa (1-0).
Four wins and a draw without Messi
Leo Messi has only missed 3 of the 44 games played so far this season. They were the Cup matches with L'Hospitalet, which FCB won 1-0 and 9-0, and the 4-0 win against BATE Borisov in the Champions League groups stage. Three wins out of three.
The Argentinian also came on as a substitute in two other matches, the one at Anoeta in the Liga (2-2) and the first leg of the Cup tie with Osasuna (4-0), where he even scored two of the goals. He has started the other 39 official matches this season.
No loss since 2009
Last season, Messi missed six games (Sporting Gijón, Athletic Bilbao, Ceuta, Levante, Deportivo and Málaga), five of which were won and the other drawn. There were no losses without Messi in 2009/10 either, and in fact the last time the team has lost without him in the side was way back in 2008/09, when they lost 1-0 at home to Osasuna on May 23, a game in which several big names were rested ahead of the Champions League final in Rome.