FC Barcelona had a convincing 4-0 victory over the bottom-placed Elche last weekend. While the superior quality and form of La Blaugrana meant the victory was never in doubt, it was made even sweeter as the club won the game despite the absence of a number of key players.
Both Frenkie de Jong and Pedri missed the game due to injury, while Sergio Busquets also started the match from the bench. Owing to this shortage of options for the midfield, Xavi opted for an innovative approach, as he fielded Eric Garcia as the team’s defensive midfielder. This innovation more than paid back its dividends.
Garcia’s game was impressive in a number of aspects. Passing has been one of Garcia’s strengths, and it was top-notch in this match as well, as the Catalan completed 51 of his 57 passes. Similarly, while playing in the defensive midfield position for the first time for FC Barcelona, Garcia made the perfect movements to give and receive passes and did not make any wrong moves.
Lastly, his off-the-ball work was also excellent. He knew when to press the opposition players and when to keep his position, which provided much-needed defensive stability, composure, and solidity to the team.
His decision-making was also exemplary throughout the entirety of the game, as he knew when to pass, and when to keep the ball a bit longer to open up more dangerous attacking sequences higher up the pitch.
These attributes shown by Eric Garcia mean Barcelona have another option to rely upon when they are feeling thin in the midfield. Xavi himself praised the player in his post-game comments, and this game could prove to be the turning point for Garcia’s career in FC Barcelona, which has been turbulent at best till now.