The coming three weeks are decisive for Barcelona but the team has a lot of doubts around it. There are various moves Xavi needs to make. Here are 10 of them.
Recover defensive solidity
Before the Inter game, Ter Stegen had let in just four goals in nine games. The average goals per game has gone from 0.4 to 1.74. For that, players like Christensen and Araujo will need to come back. There are various unanswered questions – what role does Marcos Alonso have? When will Bellerin return? Is Sergi Roberto an emergency right back or does Xavi trust him there? Is the 3-4-3 an option?
Determine the captains’ roles
Xavi has shown Pique is the fifth-choice centre back and Alba is third choice left back. Busquets so far has been untouchable but let’s see if that changes after Inter and Madrid. Sergi Roberto, too, suffered in the Clasico.
The Dutchman played well against Real Madrid. He had a tough summer but deserves to play more now. The big question is if he can do it in the pivot position or not.
Count on Gavi in the big games
The youngster added legs, personality, attitude and good play when he came on against Madrid. He should be a key piece of the puzzle.
Dembele and Raphinha as game-changers
Now there are five subs, coaches have more flexibility with their benches. Both Dembele and Raphinha would be extra-ordinary game changers off the bench when opponents are tired.
Take advantage of Ansu
The player shone as a sub against Madrid, and seems physically in good condition. Barcelona can use him.
He’s worked hard to find a place in the team again and scored off the bench against Real Madrid. The injury he suffered in pre-season set him back but now may be his time.
Make a new spine
Xavi has to construct a new base for the team that he relies on. Ter Stegen, Kounde, Pedri and Lewandowski seem like indisputable starters, but other positions could use a change.
Apply meritocracy: That has to be done, lining up with the best players according to their form in games and training. See Balde at left-back.
Insist on the style: Xavi cannot be more clear. The model from Barcelona’s most glorious eras cannot be negotiated with. It’s important, however, that the players understand exactly what Xavi wants from them. When they do, results will follow. Wins come as a consequence of good play. That’s how it is at Camp Nou.