Xavi's Masterclass Has Revived Barcelona

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Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Stringer

It's been nearly four months since Xavi returned to Barcelona and the results have been nothing but impressive for the former Blaugrana midfielder and his side.

Sunday's 4-0 smashing of rival Real Madrid was the ultimate sign that Barcelona is close to restoring the success that they've had in the past.

Early on there were concerns about Xavi's coaching minimal coaching resume, which only consisted of roughly two-and-a-half years in Qatar's top flight with Al Sadd.

However, what many people underestimated was Xavi's love for Barcelona, and more importantly, his understanding for how the club ran during the height of the Blaugrana's success in the 2000's and 2010's.

The Camp Nou side may not have Lionel Messi or Neymar at its disposal any longer, but what they do have is immense youth and players that have bought into Xavi's Juego de Position.

The legendary midfielder doesn't play the same style of football that previous Barca sides have been known for over the years with the Tiki Taka way that made the club so attractive over recent decades.

Xavi's Enormous Turnaround

After watching the first half of the season, Barcelona's outlook was largely that of doom-and-gloom.

Fast forward to where this team is at in March 2022 and the strives Xavi and his players have made are enormous.

Since Xavi took over, Barca has accumulated more La Liga points (37) than Madrid (36) during that span.

To put it into better perspective, the Blaugrana were in ninth place on Nov. 1 and closer to the relegation zone (eight points) than they were to then-league leaders Real Sociedad (nine points).

Couple that with the additions of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Adama Traore and Ferran Torres and Barca have looked like a completely different side in their attacking prowess and their overall team shape.

Xavi's System

Xavi hasn't been managing for long but his attention to detail is what makes him special as a coach.

The Spaniard utilizes Juego de Position, which is based around creating as many passing options as possible and allowing off-ball runs to spark attacks.

When Xavi was in Qatar with Al Sadd, he employed the same tactics he now uses at Barcelona and it's very clear that's one of the main reasons why he's found such success.

Instead of previous Barca sides that feasted on the Tiki Taka mentality, the Blaugrana look to lull teams to sleep and tire their opponents out with constant movement of the ball from side to side.

Prior to Xavi's arrival this season, Barcelona played 15 matches in all competitions and those performances only yielded three games where the Spanish giants scored three or more goals.

Since then, Barca has had nine matches with three or more goals, including wins over Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Napoli and Atletico Madrid.

There's no question the Camp Nou club look more threatening than ever in front of goal, and this is on top of their growing confidence defensively, which has also improved significantly with the emergence of Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia linking up with veterans like Gerard Pique, Dani Alves and Jordi Alba.

What The Future Holds

Barcelona improbably sit just 12 points behind Real in La Liga and hold a game in hand, but even with that gap at the top of the table the Blaugrana have every reason to consider this season a success.

Xavi's side is the heavy favorite to win the Europa League and the fact is Barca seems to be far ahead in its rebuild than anyone could've anticipated after Ronald Koeman's sacking.

The club's youth has become the natural focal point for building into the future, led by Pedri, Gavi, Ferran Torres and Ronald Araujo.

Those players, plus any potential moves the club makes over the summer, firmly puts Barca back into the title race next season.

It'll be worth watching what Real is capable of doing in the summer transfer window before the inevitable arrival of French superstar Kylian Mbappe, but for now, Barcelona has every reason to believe that their revived squad is going to take them back to the peak of European football.

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