Crunching the numbers ahead of Lionel Messi’s clash with relegation-threatened Huesca

After another Champions League disappointment, Barcelona's illustrious number 10 could be crucial in getting their season back on track, and a home tie with Huesca seems the perfect place to start.

A dejected Lionel Messi left the Parc des Princes in great disappointment, pondering yet another European calamity for Barcelona, as his side fell to a 5-2 aggregate defeat to PSG.

Despite scoring a goal of the tournament contender with a scintillating strike, the Argentine was unable to inspire an emulation of Blaugrana's courageous comeback against the French giants in 2017, missing a penalty in the process as the two teams played out a 1-1 draw.

The disappointing defeat extended the club's trophyless run in the competition to five seasons, as they failed to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since their 2006/07 campaign.

Having recently re-asserted themselves in the La Liga title race and a highly-anticipated Copa del Rey clash against Real Sociedad on the horizon, a golden period of form for Ronald Koeman's side could see a season-saving domestic double at the Camp Nou, preventing a second consecutive trophyless season.

Amid difficult times for the Catalonian outfit, Messi has led from the front excellently - with his strike against Les Parisiens taking his tally for the season to 25 goals and 11 assists in 35 appearances across all competitions, as he continues his run as 2021's most potent attacker.

Next on the agenda for Messi and co. is a clash with rock-bottom Huesca at the Camp Nou on Monday, and only a win will suffice if they are to maintain any hope of another league title come May.

With impending fears of relegation slowly beginning to cast a fearful shadow over the Estadio El Alcaraz, Juan Jose Rojo Martin's side currently sit bottom of the league having won just three games all season and conceding 40 goals.

Two of the three victories for Los Azulgranas have come within the last two months however, in a 3-1 away win at Valladolid and a dramatic 3-2 win over Granada respectively.

Messi will be hoping for a continuation of his unmatched form on Monday night, and given his previous two encounters with Huesca, I'd rule nothing out.

Tip of the Fixture

With their European hopes in tatters, it's crucial Barcelona bounce back on Monday, and their captain will be determined to pursue more silverware before he considers to discuss his future.

Paddy Power are offering odds of 27/1 on Messi to score first and Barcelona to win 4-0.

Stat attack

Of the two games the Argentine has played against the north-eastern Spaniards, he has tasted victory both in Catalonia and Aragon, winning in the 2018/19 season and the reverse fixture of this campaign.

Despite the small sample size of just two matches, quite astoundly, there have been 11 goals scored across both of Messi's meetings with Huesca, with 10 (yes, ten) of them coming in the former - more of that later.

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With five goal contributions across 180 minutes, Messi averages a goal contribution every 36 minutes against his opponent, boasting two goals and three assists. Unselfish as always.

Since the first game between the two in the 2014/15 season, Huesca have never beaten Barcelona, with Koeman's side benefiting from four wins and the two sides drawing on one occasion.

Can Messi continue his illustrious form against Los Azulgranas in previous matches? We've taken a look at a gargantuan encounter between the two at the Camp Nou in greater detail.

Memorable Match

Barcelona 8-2 Huesca

La Liga

September 2, 2018

With two goals and two assists to his name - sacrificing a near certain hat-trick by giving his penalty to Luis Suarez in the process - Messi ran riot as Barcelona put eight past Huesca.

Against all odds it was the visitors who took the lead early on but their advantage lasted just over 10 minutes as Messi brought Barcelona back on level terms, jinxing through a sea of Huesca shirts to precisely finish on his (dare I say) weaker right foot.

The Argentine had to wait for around 40 minutes for his next goal contribution which inspired a plethora of late involvements, assisting Ivan Rakitic for a breathtaking volley before completing his brace on the hour mark, racing through the Huesca half to extend the hosts' advantage to 6-2.

As the game drew towards it's closing stages - delight at the game concluding quickly turned into further despair for Huesca as the Catalonian giants scored two goals to emphatically thrash them.

Messi played an inch-perfect pass to Jordi Alba who raced forward to put another nail in Huesca's sorry coffin as Suarez added the finishing touches to a relentless performance from the penalty spot, after Messi unselfishly sacrificed a hat-trick goal to secure a brace to his striker partner.

After winning their 25th league title in the summer of 2018, a big win for Barcelona ceremoniously continued their campaign to retain, securing their third win in a row as they picked up where they left off.

READ MORE: Real Madrid looking to mount late title challenge with win over Elche

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