If you have been watching Barcelona for any number of years I would think that the events of the past week have not been a complete surprise - the defeats in Milan and at home to Real Madrid.
Not because Barcelona have suddenly 'been found out' but because they have such a small squad that asking the same players to perform at the same level over and over again was going to lead eventually to a run of defeats or at best below par performances. The two defeats were under different circumstances but there's no doubt that they will both have an impact on Barcelona's season because their next two matches are against the same opposition, Real away and then Milan at home.
What the better clubs have decided to do over the last three seasons, beginning with Inter Milan in the Champions League semi-final in 2011, is to play as narrow as possible when in possession, this concentrates the play into a small area and doesn't allow the short passing game to function. Barcelona don't have an out ball as they did in the past with Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry or Samuel Etoo, Zlatan summed it up perfectly last week when he said, "I was calling for the ball but all Xavi and Iniesta wanted to do was pass to Leo (Messi)." There is also of course the fact that Pep Guardiola's sidekick and new manager Tito Villanova is in the States recovering from an operation and whilst the caretaker coach may know the set-up there seems to be a lack of decisiveness about some of the tactical changes. It has also occurred to me that the recent births of children for half the starting line-up might also be playing a part.
With Valdes going in 2014 and Puyol and Xavi being used more sparingly Barcelona really need to make two or three key signings this summer to start building again - they also need to use Cesc more often than not and show a bit more faith in those lesser lights (if that's possible at the club with so many internationals) who are often overlooked in the search for the perfect goal.