Five Steps to Rescue the Season for Xavi and Barcelona

After a victorious previous season, during which Barcelona managed to reclaim the La Liga title, the current campaign has been disastrously challenging for the Catalans. A crushing defeat to Benfica in the Champions League and inconsistent performance in the national championship have seriously complicated Xavi Hernandez’s position as the team’s coach. In recent days, the mentor of the “blaugrana” has been forced to fend off rumors of a possible resignation, while the club’s leadership has begun searching for his replacement. However, following Jurgen Klopp’s example at Liverpool, Xavi is determined to change the situation and salvage the season. To achieve this, he needs to take a series of important steps.

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Find the optimal strategy

In the previous season, Xavi predominantly employed an efficient and balanced 4-4-2 formation, which helped make the team more compact and organized. However, with the acquisition of new players and the loss of Sergio Busquets, the previous model no longer appears as convincing.

Barcelona clearly lacks confidence and the influence of the Spanish metronome in the center of the field. On the flanks, the Catalans have gained numerous new creative performers demanding corresponding roles. In this regard, Xavi may consider transitioning to more attacking formations like 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, maximizing the available attacking potential.

The current playing model of the “blaugrana” is unstable and tangled. The coach needs to decide on the primary scheme and clearly allocate the players’ roles. Only then can Barcelona showcase its best football.

Define the defensive backbone

The stumbling block for the Catalan team this season has been the defensive play. Despite a brilliant previous year when the quartet of Kunde-Araujo-Christensen-Balde was considered the best in La Liga, Xavi inexplicably opted to swap almost all defensive line players, depriving it of stability. Injuries have also played a role, but the main mistake is the reluctance to deploy the reliable quartet that was crucial for success a year ago.

Xavi needs to cease endless experiments in defense and determine the core defensive lineup of the team. Only then can Barcelona restore its perennial ability to minimize conceded goals.

Restore confidence in Robert Lewandowski

The acquisition of Robert Lewandowski was the main sensation of Barcelona’s last transfer window. The former Bayern Munich forward started the season phenomenally, leading the La Liga goalscoring race. However, after the New Year, the Pole noticeably slowed down, appearing apathetic and lost on the field.

At present, the 34-year-old sniper has only scored 8 goals in the league – too few for a player of his caliber. It seems that Lewandowski is experiencing a crisis of confidence and requires an urgent reboot from the coach.

Find a role for Joao Felix

The acquisition of 24-year-old Joao Felix from Atletico was another significant deal for Barcelona last summer. However, like other managers, Xavi has yet to determine the optimal position for the Portuguese prodigy.

Felix has already played in various positions – attacking midfielder, false nine, winger, and attacking endpoint – but has not truly shone anywhere. Properly utilizing the talent of the versatile Portuguese could significantly strengthen the team’s attacking potential.

The key to unlocking the potential of the €100 million player is to identify his strongest qualities and maximize their use for the benefit of the team.

Trust Vitor Roque

The purchase of 22-year-old Brazilian forward Vitor Roque for €40 million from Atletico Paranaense was one of Barcelona’s most mysterious deals last summer. So far, Roque has received critically little playing time, irregularly substituting either in attack or on the flank.

Xavi has yet to find the best way to use the expensive newcomer, who is trying to integrate into the challenging European environment. The unsuccessful adaptation of young Brazilians in Europe is a common story; just recall the beginning of Vinicius’ career at Real Madrid.

Therefore, the coach of the “blaugrana” needs to maintain patience and continue trusting Roque, regularly providing him with playing time. Only by receiving consistent practice in an optimal role can the Brazilian fully unfold and justify the investment made in him.

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