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What do Barcelona fans expect from Xavi’s first match in charge against Espanyol?

Breath of fresh air...

Xavi Hernandez, New FC Barcelona’s Coach Photo by Albert Llop/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s an exciting time to be a Barca fan again, and who thought we’d be saying that even just a few short weeks ago?

With Xavi’s introduction, it’s allowed culers to dream again. The ‘what ifs’ become a genuine topic of conversation once more.

Really, it’s incredible how just one change can lift the gloom and reverse the narrative, but that’s how bad things had become under Ronald Koeman.

The Dutchman was, in the end, out of his depth, and once you cross swords with the hierarchy, there’s only ever going to be one winner.

Xavi will be judged on results, as he should be, though it would be entirely wrong for supporters of the club to make waves like they did when Pep Guardiola failed to win his opening two matches.

Xavi Hernandez, New FC Barcelona’s Coach Photo by Albert Llop/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The one incredibly annoying thing about modern football, or should that be modern football supporters, is an incessant need to have everything now.

Forget the project or the process. Just deliver. In their little utopian world that might work, but not in the real world.

We’ll see just how well the players have responded to Xavi’s coaching and methods once they step out onto the Camp Nou pitch on Saturday evening.

Will the shape resemble the way Guardiola set up? Will the players be brave? Will the coach be unhappy if they’re not able to express themselves in the way he might like?

Fan reaction will be key too. Once the game is over, will they have been entertained, and is that going to be enough, initially, to keep them all onside?

All those questions and many more will soon be answered.

At least we can be assured that Xavi will have been meticulous in his preparation, strong in his opinion and demonstrable in his actions.

Given his own career at the club, his experience ahead of the second biggest game for Barca each season will be invaluable.

His selection for his first starting XI will be interesting too.

Perhaps the same accusation that befell Ernesto Valverde and others - ‘club de amigos’ - will eventually land at his doorstep. Maybe not on Saturday but in future if he doesn’t drop either Busi or Geri when they’re not performing.

In any event, from a personal perspective, seeing smiles on faces, and effort, commitment and desire for the shirt will be more than enough.

Oh, and three valuable points of course...

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