FOLLOWING on from last week’s column suggesting Barcelona were now mere mortals like everybody else, it has become en vogue to pick holes in the Spanish giants.
Witness the scrutiny over Messi’s apparent slight dip in form having failed to net against AC Milan in the Champions League and then Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.
That somewhat conveniently overlooks the fact Messi has now scored in 16 consecutive La Liga matches.
If that’s the sign of Messi feeling the mental strain, then perhaps Nikica Jelavic should book in with a psychiatrist immediately.
The Everton striker continues to endure a torrid time, the sharpness, zest and confidence of 12 months previously now replaced by a forward wracked with indecision and a lack of self-belief.
Indeed, few were surprised when Jelavic failed to convert when being put clear against Reading at the weekend, his boots, as they have done for some time, appearing to be made of lead.
The Croat has now scored just once in 16 games and has been stuck on seven for the campaign since the FA Cup win at Cheltenham Town two months ago.
Maybe Jelavic is saving them for the big occasion. And, in terms of Everton’s season, none are bigger than the Cup quarter-final against Wigan Athletic this weekend.
It is a game David Moyes’s side dare not lose. Not with the prospect of a return to Wembley, and a chance to erase the memories of semi-final defeat to Liverpool last season, so tantalisingly within reach.