FC Barcelona is a side that is renowned and adored for their beautiful style of play. Possessional expertise matched with positional awareness, La Blaugrana are defined by their philosophy of playing football. Many legends have reiterated it, and even today remains the blueprint for the club.
However, reality can often be much different from the ideals. Such is the case for FC Barcelona under Xavi Hernandez this season. The Catalan giants have struggled in more ways than one, and it has cost them dearly.
Barcelona continues to struggle
A defeat to Real Madrid in the El Clasico was followed up by a marginal, and arguably undeserved, win against Real Sociedad. Then came the fall to Shakhtar Donetsk of all teams in the Champions League. And finally, in their latest game, Barcelona managed to scrape past Alaves with a win.
However, despite their marginal victories and unfavorable performances, there remains a certain highlight. According to SPORT, Barcelona have realized a new valuable trait of theirs this season with Xavi at the helm.
A newfound strength
Statistically, Barcelona are now the undisputed kings of the final quarters of games. The Blaugranes have managed to score the most goals in the last 15 minutes of games than any other European side. Moreover, they have also managed to win the most points in that same time period of their games.
Scoring 12 goals this season in the final quarter of games, Barcelona have become a team with a strong mentality. Regardless of their play, Barça now shows character until the very last minute.
While they used to be criticized in the past for slacking off near the end of games, it now seems that the time near the end itself is where Barcelona truly wakes up.
Unfortunately, this statistic will not be sustainable. Xavi will need to work on his team as urgently as possible to ensure that their reliance is not strictly on heroics in the dying moments of games.