Five reasons why Xavi’s Barcelona is back to their best – report

Date:

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 09: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Xavi, head coach of Barcelona talks with the media during a press conference at Parc des Princes on April 09, 2024 in Paris, France.
Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The recent victory over Paris Saint-Germain was not a fluke by any means for FC Barcelona. While those that do not regularly watch the Catalans may think it was simply due to a night of brilliance, others know better. For Barcelona, this victory is only the latest addition to their rampant form created from their struggles and newfound consistency.

However, if one were to highlight a specific date that kickstarted this new momentum, they could trace it back to Xavi’s original announcement of his incoming departure. After a rather disappointing loss to Villarreal in La Liga, the Barcelona coach announced his decision to leave.

While reactions from the public have been mixed, the team itself has rallied behind its coach and driven itself upwards towards new heights. Since that announcement, the Catalans have won 9 games and drawn twice, having suffered zero losses since that fateful defeat. They have scored 25 goals in total since then, and conceded only 9 goals.

Now, according to SPORT, there are five main reasons beyond just the sentimental value of Xavi’s impending departure that have allowed Barcelona to flourish. These have come in the form of tactical tweaks as well as strategically crucial discoveries.

Cubarsi’s ascendancy:

The 17-year-old defensive pearl named Pau Cubarsi has completely helped Barcelona find themselves again. For much of the first half of this season, Barcelona forgot the defensive brilliance that won them La Liga last season.

However, Cubarsi’s emergence has enabled La Blaugrana to regain both stopping power as well as an additional defender with an unreal vision to aid his passing range.

Two new weapons in attack:

A lot of criticism at the start of the season went to Robert Lewandowski, and understandably so. The Polish striker was poor with finishing his chances, and he seemed to have lost his way.

Now, however, he is back to his best and continues to impress even when he is not on the scoresheet, something that only the most elite strikers can do.

Secondly, Lamine Yamal’s emergence has also helped Barcelona become much more lethal in attack. Whether it be in possession or even during counter attacks, Barcelona simply look much more dangerous while attacking due to Yamal’s surreal quality despite his age.

A Brazilian reawakening:

Not many people seemed to have faith in Raphinha to deliver when it mattered the most. Unfortunately for them, it is quite the opposite that has ended up happening. The Brazilian forward, now a key player for Xavi even as a left-winger, has discovered a new version of himself that is dangerous, fast, and much more efficient in attack.

Last season it was Gavi’s usage as a false winger that allowed Barcelona to make use of the additional control he offered. Now, with the youngster injured, the Barcelona coach has turned towards Raphinha to make a new type of winger and that slight variation has ended up being very fruitful for La Blaugrana.

Removing Gundogan’s shackles:

One of the elite midfielders in world football, Ilkay Gundogan’s arrival from Manchester City brought a lot of experience and quality to Barcelona. Unfortunately, even when the German was at his best, the demands of having to play as a defensive pivot also restricted him from contributing to his best extremes.

Now, however, the German veteran is given the leverage to attack as he wishes. Especially with Andreas Christensen there to play the role of a pivot, Gundogan is given the freedom to express himself more freely than ever before and it is providing Barcelona a lot of joy.

The joys of a strong bench:

With the injuries that Barcelona previously had, they barely had good options coming off the bench. That is no longer the case, and with several stars such as Pedri making a return, even the substitutes are able to make a strong impact.

Both Pedri and Christensen, despite coming off the bench, were able to turn the tide of the game around with essentially their first touches.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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