Robert Lewandowski's stat line in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Cadiz on Sunday wasn't horrific. Although he failed to score, the striker shot five times, put one on target and missed one 'big chance.' He also grabbed himself an assist. Worryingly, though, when Barca needed a goal to salvage what seemed to be heading towards their second 0-0 draw in two games to start the season, Lewandowski went quiet. He was rarely in the box, and what few half-chances he had, he squandered.
The burden, instead, fell on Pedri and Ferran Torres to grab the goals, the star striker mostly a spectator as the Blaugrana squeaked out a win. It's the continuation of a worrying trend for Lewandowski. He turned 35 on Monday, and has shown signs that he might be slowing down with age. He has only scored 10 league goals this calendar year, and is unlikely to match the 34 he managed in 2022. The eye test is equally unkind, with Lewandowski looking a languid presence on the ball and off it. Suddenly, one of the game's greats looks old.
This is all a problem for a Barca side that will sink without production from its star man. The Blaugrana don't have a reliable goalscorer outside of Lewandowski. The departure of Ousmane Dembele — and his 12 goal contributions last year — has only increased the pressure. And although help is on the way from exciting but inexperienced Brazilian teenager Vitor Roque in January, Lewandowski needs to rediscover his best form or Barca may well fall out of title contention early.