A lot of people complain that Oda makes Big Mom and her crew look “weak” because of how they’re getting done in by Straw Hats in this arc.
The Big Mom Pirates are stronger than the Straw Hats, and they also aren’t just strong individually.
When it’s just the children, they form an effective fighting team that rationally and effectively responds to threats, as shown by the coordination between Oven, Perospero, Smoothie, and Katakuri to contain the Strawhats.
The problem is Big Mom herself. She rules entirely through fear, and every member of her crew is either terrified of her or completely hates her.
Every time the Strawhats have caught a break it’s because a member of the Big Mom crew lied to Big Mom out of fear or betrayed her out of hatred. Brulee was outsmarted but lied and said everything was fine, Mont D’or lied and said the pirates didn’t escape, the forest homies were controlled because they were terrified of Mom’s vivre card, Pudding is helping the Straw Hats because she hates how Big Mom treats her and loves Sanji, Bege always hated Big Mom and working as her subordinate didn’t change his mind, Cracker wouldn’t get support because then Linlin would have called him weak, Perospero lied to her about the cake, now the Germa hate her for her betrayal too and even Katakuri in the most recent chapter is starting to realize her abuse. Nobody loves her, not even her own family.
Compare that to the Strawhats’ actions. Luffy starved himself to get to Sanji, Jinbe risked his life to join the crew, Chopper and Carrot worked together to start the turnaround and save the whole damn team, Brook took on a Yonko solo to distract her from his friends, Pedro committed suicide to buy them time, and there are many, many more instances of the crew selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way for one another. They love each other and would do anything for their friends.
If Big Mom wasn’t there then Katakuri, Smoothie, Perospero, Cracker, Oven and the rest of her children would have decimated the Straw Hats. She’s the reason why the Straw Hats are winning.
*Theory by McTimm