There was a special excitement in the air before the first home game of the season.
The club maneged to build a special feeling before the match. There are new faces that arrived this summer. Xavi’s mission would be integrating them into the squad perfectly.
But, just like any new thing, it will take time to work properly. Should we be nervous? Not exactly.
The score should be different
Rayo’s backs-against-the-wall defending faced a Barça that couldn’t convert a single goal out of more than 20 shots.
That said, the Catalans were so dominant in that opening 45 that Xavi shouldn’t be too disappointed by what he saw.
Indeed, there are quite few reasons to be optimistic about this Barca.
The return to the ‘Barça way’ with 70 percent possession was nice. But it was also effective: nine shots in the first half alone, a genuine threat on both flanks, a comfortable defence for the most part…
The rustiness was probably to be expected when the time came to getting back down to business.
And take nothing away from Rayo who, let’s not forget, did a number on the Blaugranes last season.
If anything, the manner of the performance gives everyone a reality check early doors and dampens down the expectation just a bit. Which can never be a bad thing.
To coin a well-worn phrase, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Therefore, what happens in these first few games is unlikely to author what happens for the rest of the campaign.
When Barca hit their stride – and they will – there will be no stopping them. Patience, not normally a virtue associated with culers, needs to be employed at this point.
A lot of room to grow
The depth of the squad affords Xavi the opportunity denied his predecessor in that there is enough quality coming off the bench to not see a drop off in the level of performance.
If anything, the conundrum of how Barca struggle to put away those teams that consistently employ the low block throughout games is no closer to being solved.
The personnel may change and the style may evolve. But the issue remains.
All of that said, the hosts were on the front foot throughout. They were positive from first to last and never stopped working.
That’s all you can ask from any team. And if the squad can continue in the same vain over the course of the 2022/23 campaign, they won’t be far away when the silverware is handed out next year.