Many people thought Xavi made a brave and perhaps risky move when he joined FC Barcelona. Since his playing days, the former Blaugrana player has left an enduring legacy at the team. It might have been tarnished, though, by a possible rough patch as head coach.
Nevertheless, in his first season, Xavi overcame all odds to save a sinking Barcelona. Arriving in the middle of the 2021–2022 season, he succeeded Ronald Koeman in leading Barça back to the top of La Liga.
Then, he really contributed to Barcelona’s best season in recent memory last year. Barcelona regained their former grandeur by defeating Real Madrid in the final of both the Spanish Supercup and La Liga.
But Xavi deserves a lot of the credit for a tactical adjustment that made it all possible. Instead of opening with Barcelona’s normal 4-3-3, he went with a starting eleven that had four midfield players.
SPORT thinks he’s thinking of going back to that tried-and-true approach this season because of their recent lack of control in games. This was not feasible because Pedri and Frenkie De Jong had previously sustained injuries. But now that they’ve recovered, the two standout midfield players are available.
Gavi’s tragic injury notwithstanding, Xavi has reliable midfield choices at his disposal. Pedri, De Jong, and Ilkay Gundogan are considered untouchables, although in games against stronger opponents where control is crucial, they might be joined by a fourth midfield player.
The choices made by Oriol Romeu and Fermin Lopez are the two that stick out. When the team needs a bit more grit and adrenaline, the 20-year-old offers a dynamic outlet. Romeu, however, offers far more steadiness, particularly when he plays with Frenkie De Jong.
Xavi remains flexible and open-minded for the time being. There needs to be a solution because Barcelona hasn’t played at its best lately.
Even before January arrives, the results of Barça’s Champions League matches against Atletico Madrid, Girona, and Porto are all significant games that will decide the team’s fate.