‘There’s the full-time whistle and Barcelona has been outcoached and humiliated by Real Madrid 4-1’ – this echoed in every fan’s ears as Barcelona had a dismal showing in their first big game of 2024.
Barcelona currently stands third in La Liga and has a spot in the Champions League knockout rounds. On top of that, they have a Copa del Rey quarterfinal clash against Athletic Bilbao at San Mamés. Since 17 September, Barcelona has not won a La Liga game by more than a goal. This itself speaks of large volumes of improvement required because the standards at Barcelona are different and very high.
It is expected that 2024 will be a difficult year for Barcelona. This is because their star player, Robert Lewandowski, will turn 36 years old and has already shown signs of slowing down. His lack of efficiency in front of the goal has caused Barcelona to lose several points. He has only scored one goal in The Champions League group stages and has underperformed with a 3.7 xG, which is a big concern for Xavi.
To replace him, Vitor Roque has been chosen, who has just joined from Athletico Paranaense. It is necessary for his integration into the team to be smooth without the burden of high expectations from the very beginning. Therefore, Barcelona needs to have a striker who can support Roque’s integration by scoring goals without putting too much pressure on him.
Sergio Busquets replacement
There is a major concern regarding the lack of a top-quality defensive midfielder in the team. Teams that prefer to keep possession and build up from the back require a world-class number six. Barcelona had Busquets, who is considered one of the best DMs in the history of football. However, since his departure, Romeu was brought in, but he has not been able to perform up to the mark.
It is widely speculated that Barcelona will make a move in the upcoming summer transfer window. Some of the names that have been mentioned as potential replacements are Fernando Redondo, Mats Weiffer, and Joshua Kimmich. However, due to financial troubles, Redondo seems to be the only viable option. Barcelona needs to prioritize this issue as their gameplay is heavily dependent on the DM position. Without a good DM, Barcelona has looked disorganized this season.
It has come to light that Xavi’s job at Barcelona is currently at risk. Although the board has expressed their confidence in Xavi, his fate will ultimately be decided based on the team’s performance in the UEFA Champions League, Copa del Rey, and La Liga over the next two to three games. To keep his job, Xavi is expected to lead Barcelona past the round of 16 in the Champions League, win the Copa del Rey, and finish at least in the top two of La Liga. Several names have been suggested as his replacement, such as Michel, Imanol Aguacil, and Garcia Pimienta.
However, it is important to note that Barcelona is currently in a state of turmoil and requires a manager with not just good tactical skills, but also the ability to manage the negativity surrounding the club. Xavi’s remarkable leadership has resulted in a remarkable transformation of the team’s performance under challenging circumstances.
His unwavering commitment and determination have been instrumental in their La Liga and Super Cup triumphs last season. It is imperative that we give him the time he needs to continue his great work. With that said, there should still be confidence among the fans that they will soon be able to witness Barcelona’s excellence on the pitch once again, thanks to Xavi’s vision and guidance.
Although there have been some positive developments in Barcelona, like Gavi’s arrival in July and the opening of the new Spotify Camp Nou, much still needs to be improved for the team to return to their former glory. If they can address the issues above, the Catalonians be able to achieve their goals.