Ernesto Valverde is on borrowed time at Barcelona

The rot appears to have already set in at Barcelona.

In four away matches this season in all competitions, the Catalans have failed to win any.

Two of those have come against teams that were promoted from the Segunda Division last season, Osasuna and Granada, and against the Andalusians last weekend, they were well beaten.

Whilst that won’t necessarily leave Ernesto Valverde’s job hanging by a knife edge, there’s every reason to think he could be on borrowed time with just five games of the La Liga season played.

Though it’s true that Lionel Messi hasn’t played for the most part and clearly looked unfit when he came on for the second half against Granada, Barca have enough about them in their squad to be comfortably beating most teams in the Spanish top flight.

Therein is Valverde’s issue.

He seems to be unable to affect matters when his team have their backs against the wall. We saw it against Roma and Liverpool in the Champions League, and we saw it again in the most recent fixture.

There was little to get excited about from a Barca perspective either. They looked disjointed in defence, overrun in midfield and blunt in attack.

For all intents and purposes Valverde has appeared to accede to the board’s every whim without hesitation. But in so doing, he has had to shoe horn players into positions that aren’t a natural fit.

Take Antoine Griezmann. Pushed out on the left, he could do little damage, and he seemed to encounter many of the same problems as Philippe Coutinho had during his time at the club.

Frenkie De Jong had his moments, and he was about the only player for the visitors that did, but Valverde could get much, much more out of him if only he would station him in the right area.

At the time of writing, Barca have had their worst league start for 25 years, and are already at least two wins away from top spot.

With much bigger tests to come in the near future, one wonders just how badly things will have to get for the board to wield the axe, but the issue for them is who would they replace him with?

The big managerial names are all employed, and there’d been uproar if Jose Mourinho was even considered.

There’s little point in settling for second best either, meaning the powers that be have really dug their own hole on this one.

From Valverde’s point of view, he has to start putting a run of wins together, or else the fans will hound him out of a job that most believed he was never cut out for anyway.

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