Xavi has been coaching Barça for more than one hundred days, even though, according to him, “it feels like 100 years”. The coach left his comfortable life at Qatar to return to Barcelona and take over a problematic bench after the exif of Koeman. That truly has a merit. The instability within the club due to the financial struggles nd specially the lost of Messi makes it a tough task to carry out.
Xavi knew that he came in order to be the shield of the board of directors. He was also aware of the fact that he would be criticized since the first minute. Many hoped for a miracle, an immediate improvement and good outcomes right away. The reality is that the situation at Barça needs time both for the team and the coach to grow.
Reconstruction of ideas:
Xavi as a player was one of the main symbols of the possession game, which is why anyone could expect Barça to get to the opponent’s box by controlling the ball and waiting for a mistake. Nothing far from reality, his team is creating quick scoring chances, even though they are not being too effective. More crosses to the box, more presence from the interiors within the box and less complications in offensive plays.
In the last few years, the philosophy and the style have ballasted the team, sentenced to a horizontal and bitter football that completely relied on Messi taking the lead to win games. Whoever defended this football has not really seen teams coached by Guardiola. To have the ball is useful if you have it with sense, attacking the space and looking for superiority forward.
One of the most notable aspects of the team under Xavi in this first few months is the instant pressing after losing the ball. Whenever the rival allows it, they pressure them in their half. The attitude of the team helps that pressure, but the lack of defensive solidity make them to suffer in all the scoring chances their rival is able to create.
An aspect for Xavi to improve on his start in the elite football is the substitutions during the game. Good starting approaches are usual by making the most out of the available resources. The game against Atlético de Madrid is a clear example of that, as he took advantage of the position of Dani Alves in order to pair up Adama with Mario Hermoso so he could crate danger. Whenever the games get tough, Xavi is too predictable and shows lack of improvisation to lead his team.
It is what it is:
The sentence by Koeman still is around this transition season where the young players have come for the rescue. Furthermore, Barça have managed to strengthen themselves in the winter transfer market with the signings of Ferran Torres, Adama Traoré, Aubameyang and Dani Alves, who also has its merit. All they can add is welcomed by Xavi, as he has really been able to improve his offensive area.
Barça cant afford to dispense with any player with the goal to qualify to the Champions League, including Dembélé, who has been in the news for a possible exit towards next summer. Camp Nou does not forgive, but he can currently help with his dribbling and Xavi has made it clear that he is going to count on him as far as he is available to play. The merit must prevail.
Effort must be above status in order to accomplish goals in the long term. If Luuk de Jong is effective at scoring, he must have more minutes than an Aubameyang full of unknowns. If Nico and Gavi provide the midfield with more freshness than Frenkie de Jong, they must be the first option. If Dani Alves at the age of 38 is the best right back of the roster, he must play. It is simply a matter of merit and Xavi must have that clear if he wants to keep improving.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Twitter @FCBarcelona_es.