Ansu Fati or Gavi as a false 9: Xavi’s dilemma ahead of Barcelona vs Girona

Ansu Fati or Gavi as a false 9

In the absence of Robert Lewandowski and Ferrán Torres, Xavi opted to deploy Ansu Fati in the striking position. Scoring twice in his last two games for Barcelona prior to the game against Getafe, the in-form young Spaniard understandably got the chance as the starting center forward.

However, Ansu completely disappeared among the circle of Getafe defenders. His contribution as a striker converged to zero, and when he somehow got the ball, failed to make good use of it. What seemed to be a great chance for him to break into Barcelona XI, turned into a subpar game for the youngster.

On the other hand, when Raphinha left the pitch for Kessié, a positive turn eventuated in his play. As the midfielders pushed high more often, he had more freedom to drift to the wings frequently. He was visibly more comfortable there, which is an obvious indication that his preferred position remains the left side.

Despite the singular setback against Getafe, Ansu Fati remains a player that Xavi must get the most out of so as to not let such a prodigious talent go to waste. He should be tested again as a center-forward against future opponents as well, given that his skillset may not always be favorable against particular opponents such as a Getafe side that insisted on a low-block defensive approach that let Fati have no open spaces to unleash a first touch into.

Yet against an opponent such as the upcoming Girona, one that tends to play a high line and leaves spaces to be exploited when attacking, Fati may find himself a suitable opponent to find his stride against.

In terms of alternatives to Fati, Xavi could also opt to use a false 9 system, where a player like Gavi could slot in as a make-shift central attacker between Raphinha and Dembele as the wingers, akin to how Pep Guardiola utilized Lionel Messi against certain opponents during his Barcelona tenure.

Another option could be to use the talented La Masia youngster Angel Alarcon as the center forward, a position he’s used to. Lastly, Xavi could end up potentially using Raphinha and Dembele as a two-man strike duo up top, however, this possible contingency seems highly unlikely given its potential discrepancies.

Ali Khan Sherwani
Ali Khan Sherwani
Meet Ali Khan Sherwani, a passionate aficionado of FC Barcelona and the visionary founder behind the esteemed Barca News Network. With unwavering devotion to the Catalan club, Ali has seamlessly blended his love for the sport with entrepreneurialism, giving rise to a platform that delivers unparalleled coverage of all things Barça.

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