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Title in sight as battling Barcelona pass yet another test

Yet another 1-0 win

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona seem to be making a habit of winning by the slenderest of margins this season, but the fact is that there is still only three points to play for in every game.

It’s not always going to be pretty, and Sunday’s fare that was served up at Camp Nou certainly wasn’t that, but a win’s a win, right?

Sure, culers would love to see every opponent despatched by a hatful each week, but that isn’t going to happen with this squad.

That’s not to be overly critical, moreover, it’s an acknowledgment that there is another way of winning, and though it isn’t what Barca or their fans are used to, it’s still likely to end in a much-needed league title if things continue in the same vain.

What it showed, just as in the Bernabeu in midweek, is that Xavi’s Barcelona are made of the right stuff.

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

You can’t say that the way they are playing is ‘championship form,’ but they are nevertheless getting the job done, by hook or by crook.

Whether the aesthetics aren’t as pleasing is really a moot point. Would you rather watch beautiful football and not win games?

The best teams in the world all grind out results when they need to, and it’s those three points that are earned when a team isn’t going through their best moment in a season that are often considered the most worthy.

Let’s be honest, it was a horrible watch against Valencia at times.

Without Pedri and Gavi in the midfield Barca lacked balance, and they sorely missed Robert Lewandowski’s poacher’s instinct up front.

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona: Semi Final Leg One - Copa Del Rey Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It wouldn’t have helped that Xavi wasn’t in the dugout to direct proceedings, not to mention the missed penalty - a lesson to be learned for Ferran there perhaps - and the direct red for Ronald Araujo.

With all of that in mind, plus a favourable referee who waved away a strong penalty appeal for Los Che, and Betis holding Real Madrid to a goalless draw at the Benito Villamarin to see the Catalans extend their lead to nine points at the top of the table, there has to be a degree of satisfaction from a supporter point of view.

This is still very much a team in transition and far from the finished article, but the performances will come. Until then, any wins are a bonus.

Let me leave you with this thought... Xavi has won 37 of his opening 50 games as Barca manager - even more than Guardiola. He has also overseen seven draws, and just six losses while scoring 94 goals and conceding 31.

Give him time.

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