Barcelona are back and we’re not just talking about Gerard Pique’s tweet last night. Since Xavi Hernandez took over the reins from Ronald Koeman back in November 2021, there have been signs of improvement on the field for the Catalan club and as a result, the team is now playing some beautiful football and earning the much-needed wins that were lacking at the start of the 2021-22 campaign.
Barcelona had lost their last five Clasicos, four in La Liga, and the Supercopa de Espana clash in January 2022, their worst run since the 1960s. But the defeat in Saudi Arabia wasn’t a negative one and gave the fans some hope that the team is improving under Xavi’s stewardship.
The remarkable thing is how quickly Xavi has turned things around at the Camp Nou. When he took over, the club were languishing in ninth place in La Liga. At the moment Barca are 3rd in the table with 54 points after 28 games, with a game in hand, if they can win that game they will be level on points with 2nd placed Sevilla, who currently have 57 points after 29 games.
In recent weeks the Catalans defeated Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Osasuna and Napoli comfortably, scoring 4 goals in each of those games. This 4-0 win over arch-rivals Real Madrid is proof that this sort of form from Barca is no fluke and fans can start believing in this team again.
Thanks to this win, Xavi became the first Barcelona coach to win his first Clasico in La Liga by four goals since Helenio Herrera in 1959. Even with the team comfortably dominating the game, Xavi screamed from the touchline, demanding perfection. This sort of passion was lacking in the Camp Nou dugout since Pep Guardiola’s departure.
On top of Xavi’s work, sporting director Mateu Alemany got his calls right in January to bring in the dynamic striking duo of Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, along with Dani Alves and Adama Traore.
In his 11 games so far this season, Aubameyang has scored 9 and assisted 1 and his contribution last night saw him become the first player to be directly involved in three goals in his first El Clasico appearance in all competitions in the 21st century.
Torres has featured 8 times for Barca, scoring 4 goals and assisting 3 during that time. Traore also has 2 assists to his game even though he has been a rotation option for Xavi, starting just 3 out of his 7 appearances.
After the international break, Xavi’s men will aim to extend their 13-game unbeaten La Liga run when they host Sevilla for their next fixture on April 3.