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You'd think FC Barcelona would struggle when Messi is out of action as he is a crucial cog in the Barça machine. However, they have proven able to cope when he is unavailable. Since Luis Enrique's arrival, Messi has missed 16 games and the results have been impressive. Two draws in the Copa del Rey last year, against minnows Villanovense and struggling Valencia, and a defeat against Sevilla in the league last season, are the only games which didn't end in FCB taking home all three points.
Following that defeat, FCB went on a 39-game unbeaten streak, the first seven games of which were all wins and didn't feature Messi prior to his comeback as a substitute in the 4-0 away to Real Madrid.
The team didn't just win, it won in style with 49 goals scored at a rate of over three a game whilst Messi was unavailable. These stats are impressive and point to the depth of the Liga champions' squad. Suárez and Neymar Jr have often risen to the challenge of filling the sizable Argentinian-shaped hole in their forward line and have scored 11 goals each in these games.
On top of that, the rest of the squad contributes their fair share of goals. Rakitic, who scored the goal in the draw with Atlético Madrid on Wednesday night, has found the net three times when playing without the number 10. It seems that, whilst Messi will be missed, the Catalans are well positioned to cope with his loss.
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