FC Barcelona ended the Roller-Coaster of a year in a tough away match vs Sevilla. Meeting Sevilla at their home is always challenging for Barcelona. But this time Barça came as the underdogs vs the best defense in the league. Moreover, Sevilla are still unbeaten at their home. But at the end of the day it’s fair to say that Barça were the better team, and It felt like we should have won.
Xavi keeps on improving the team all the time. Yesterday, the team dominated the game for large periods of times. Furthermore, after the red card of Koundé the game began even more one-sided. But sadly, Barcelona couldn’t collect the 3 points vs Sevilla last night.
What the Coach wanted?
Looking at the starting lineup, it wasn’t clear whether the team play in a 343 formation, or with 433. And I think that one of the main things Xavi does well is taking the team and making it unpredictable to the opponent. Moreover, the versatility of the players allows Xavi to change formations all the time. That’s why even though Barça played with a 433 formation, when Alba pushed up, Araujo took a more central position.
Araujo as a Right-Back is far from ideal. He’s not helping Dembele by making runs at the wing. But Xavi wanted a more defensive right back who could join as a third center back, allowing Alba to join the midfield. In that way the midfield and the attack could press high and dominate the game.
And it once again worked, as Lopetegui and his team had a hard time in the first half. However, Papu Gomez scored against the run of play after a great corner. But then came Araujo and scored after a corner by Dembele.
In the second half Xavi looked at the bench and once again saw that the only real attacker he has is Luuk de Jong. So he first tried Nico, but for the last minutes he did try to use the Dutch striker. No minutes for Coutinho last night, and it was a clear sign that the Brazilian is not part of Xavi’s plans.
The team will return to trainings on December 28 after the Christmas break. And hopefully, by the next league game, Xavi will be able to count on Pedri and Ansu Fati. With both Busquets and Gavi out with suspensions, Xavi will need them.
Now, let’s take a look at the good and the bad things to take from the game.
- Ousmane Dembélé is one of the players that many fans can’t stand. And I can understand why. The French came as a young star and failed. But something that he didn’t have since arriving to the club is a proper coach who will teach him how to play for Barça. And I know it’s early and he can get an injury every day, but it looks like Xavi’s words are getting to him. I think that Dembélé can contribute a lot to the way Xavi wants us to play. Hopefully he will renew the contract and it will be interesting to see how Xavi will influence him.
- Gavi with a yet another masterclass yesterday, absolutely dominating the midfield. Moreover, he almost scored a header in the second half. Sadly, he will miss the next league game as he received his 5th yellow card yesterday.
- Abde still lacks a lot of experience. But last night, in a tough away game vs Sevilla, Abde did a great work on the wing. The guy is a true fighter, and he’s not afraid to dribble past defenders like Kounde. Having him and Dembele on both wings allows Barça to play wide, just as Xavi wants. With Ansu back and maybe Ferran Torres signing, we might have proper wings again.
- Busquets and Pique are both doing great since Xavi came. It looks like they know that they have to serve as mentors for the young kids that play alongside the. Moreover, having those fast and ambitious kids around is like a good backup for their lack of pace. And Sevilla having so few chances last night is no coincidence.
- Another game where the team plays well but lacks just inches from scoring more goals. Hopefully that would improve once Ansu will be back and attackers will sign.
- Frenkie de Jong looks off. It looks like the recent rumors regarding his future got to him. Xavi will have to find a way to restore the best version of De Jong. In order to take this team to the next level, Xavi will have to find the best way to use the Dutch.
After the draw vs Sevilla, Barcelona are now 2 points behind the 4th place at the table. It’s fair to say that with the new signings and the players that will be back from injuries, we should expect a far better 2022.