How Barcelona has improved since the announcement of Xavi Hernández’s goodbye | Soccer | Sports


Xavi Hernández, Barcelona coach, has maintained his idea in the last ten games: “My decision (not to renew) was the right one” or “the team has improved since I said I was leaving” are some of the quotes he has left in front of him. to the microphones since he announced on January 27 that he was not going to renew as coach of the club of his life. And is not for less. The latest results of the Barça club—Ter Stegen and Lewandowski, apart—are figures for a successful coach in culé history. And the Catalan coach is the Spanish coach with the most defeats in the club’s history. But, in recent weeks, it seems that that bad streak is behind us.

In the Champions League quarter-finals, after beating Napoli and full of joy after beating Atlético, Xavi’s team has been experiencing a sweet time since February. Before starting the current season, the total of all Barcelona games under Xavi was 90, with 61% wins and 21% losses. But, after the start of La Liga, Real Madrid and an unusual Girona were placed at the top of the table, and Xavi could not find the key to overtake them. In fact, he lost against both teams in the first round.

“The result is a disgrace. It is unfair. We played a good game, and we deserved to win,” the coach lamented after the 1-2 defeat against Real Madrid. “It is a hard blow because today we had high hopes of being one point behind Girona and two behind Madrid. But we’re five past seven. Still, this is a team under construction. I have always said it, although I have been criticized. I still trust this team,” he admitted after losing 2-4 to Girona.

But the highlight were the games against Athletic, in the Cup elimination 4-2, and Villarreal. The 3-5 defeat against the yellow submarine precipitated the coach’s announcement. Since then, ten games and zero defeats, with a 70% victory rate, at the level of Guardiola, Luis Enrique or Vilanova, although with many fewer games.

The Barça club has had to deal with several injuries to its players throughout the season. Of them, one of those that has affected the results the most has been that of the German goalkeeper Marc-André Ter Stegen. Since his injury, the team has only been able to keep a clean sheet in two games out of 15. Although in his return game he conceded three goals in the draw against Granada, he has returned in style and, with his stops, has avoided conceded a goal in half of the eight games he has played since then, and has conceded six goals.

Was the level of the rivals enough to beat Barcelona post-announcement? No. This is determined by the Elo ranking (mathematical method that calculates the relative quality of the teams based on the results of their matches, the strength of the rivals and the final result of each match), which indicates that Barcelona has only been inferior in level against Real Madrid in October and Atlético in December (only league and Champions League matches are counted).

Since Xavi’s announcement, Barcelona has always faced lower-level teams, and only against Athletic, Atlético and Napoli did they have a difference of around 100 points or less. Therefore, it is logical that the Barça club has not lost any of the last ten games.

One of the things that could be blamed on Barcelona was that it was not only the best team in Spain, but not even the best team in Catalonia. Girona, Míchel’s devastating team, which came first in several matches, was the one Xavi had ahead of most of the matches. More specifically, from the distant ninth day, in October, until two weeks ago. “He has the best proposal I have seen so far this season,” the culé coach said after conceding four goals in Montjuïc.

The bad streak that Míchel’s team has been going through since the tough defeat against Madrid a month and a half ago, added to the good dynamics experienced by Xavi’s team, has allowed the Barça club to rise to second place after 20 days. Real Madrid, on the other hand, seems, in principle, unattainable for Barcelona, ​​given that, with nine games left, they surpass them by eight points.

There is no doubt, based on the results, that Barcelona has improved since Xavi announced his departure at the end of the season. Also especially thanks to leaps in quality and efficiency of players like Ter Stegen, Lewandowski, Cubarsí or Lamine Yamal. The team has an April in which it must maintain its level, with PSG just around the corner in the Champions League quarterfinals, and Real Madrid at the end of the month.

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