Xavi’s bad week continues
Barcelona’s draw with Valencia on Saturday continued the team’s recent slump and made it a very bad week for Xavi who is coming under increased scutiny.
Fans were hoping for a response to disappointing defeats to Girona and Antwerp but only suffered more misery as Barca dropped points again at Mestalla.
The visitors had enough chance to win the game but were once again poor in attack and had to settle for a point after Hugo Guillamon’s fine equaliser.
Barca’s result means they potentially lose more ground in the title race and could be nine points off top spot if Girona beat Alaves on Monday.
The morale-boosting wins over Atletico and Porto suddenly seem a very long time ago, and Xavi will know he needs to turn things around quickly if he’s to relieve the growing pressure.
Barcelona are utterly toothless
One of the big reasons for Barcelona’s slump in form is their inability to score goals. The Catalans have made missing chances something of an artform in recent weeks and lead the way in Europe when it comes to being utterly hopeless in front of goal.
The stats showed Barca had 16 shots in the 90 minutes and finished up with an xG of 3.06 (compared to Valencia’s 0.48). Xavi knew it too and was pretty critical about his team’s finishing after the game at Mestalla.
“We deserved to win, we did everything. What happened over the past weeks with regard to effectiveness was repeated,” he said. “This match pretty much summarises the season for us. We train finishing but it depends on the players’ confidence.
“We have to be one of the teams with the worst finishing in Europe. I am very frustrated today.”
Barca’s profligacy in front of goal did make you wonder why Xavi didn’t turn to Marc Guiu on Sunday night. The teenager has scored late goals against Athletic and Antwerp but didn’t get any minutes against Valencia.
No excuses next time for Barca
The only good news for Barcelona is that their next fixture on Wednesday is against bottom side Almeria at Montjuic. Gaizka Garitano’s side are the only winless team left in La Liga (and indeed Europe’s top five leagues) this season.
Wednesday’s opponents have lost 12 of 16 league matches and also have the worst defensive record in the Spanish top flight after shipping 39 goals so far.
On paper it looks the perfect opportunity for Barcelona to get back on track in their final La Liga fixture of the year. There will be no excuses at all for Xavi and his players if they can’t pick up all three points next time out.