So much can change in so little time. Or have these problems been around for longer, just under the service?
How far back does it go for Xavi and this Barcelona team?
The last Clasico in October? A bad summer transfer window to get the squad ready for a title defending campaign? Could it go all the way back to the time Xavi was hired? Or before that even?
It seems to me that Barcelona as a club is experiencing a true identity crisis.
The problem isn’t even financial. The team they put out against Real Madrid on Sunday had the talent to go toe to toe with the Galacticos.
They just didn’t play good football. They were naive.
And they are playing exactly as they are taught to play as Barcelona players.
Keep possession. Pass it around. Dominate the ball, and the goals will come to win the game.
If you have the ball, and your opponent doesn’t, they can’t hurt you.
Once again, Barca had the lion’s share of the possession. They generated shots, and shots on target. And they were still a mile behind the opposition.
Barcelona is so slow and predictable. They aren’t hard to game plan against.
In a way, the rigid identity stifles the individual creativity of the talent on the roster.
Real Madrid aren’t dogmatic, they keep things simple and organized, and let their superstar talent win the day in the moments that are presented to them.
It’s a championship formula.
They are willing to let Barcelona defeat themselves. So long as they leave the field with the W.
And Barca did defeat themselves in this game.
The defending was atrocious.
Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen, and Ronald Araujo are great players. But they are making very costly elementary mistakes of late.
The forward play continues to be abysmal. But these are the attackers that Xavi asked for.
Frenkie de Jong honestly deserves better than this. It’s incredible that he fought to stick around, when he would have been way better off with a move to a club that would let the world see how imperious he is. Ilkay Gundogan must be regretting his transfer already.
Seeing Pedri back in action was the one encouraging take away from this embarrassment of a game.
But as good as these midfielders are, the system, or lack thereof, that they play in, is making them look incompetent.
So what are the next steps?
Go onto the market with desperation and look to bring in new players to change the dynamic on the field?
Fire Xavi and get a new voice on the sideline who can make better use of the players who are already here?
Maybe all of us need to look in the mirror and realize that Barcelona can either be about winning, or they can be about whatever it means to play the Barca way.
Modern football has left Xavi and his generation of greats behind.
As this match illustrated, you can’t do anything without a good defense.
You can’t get anywhere without keeping things simple and being organized at the most basic level.
And you don’t win games because you have the ball the most.
Big change is needed in Barcelona. From the top to the bottom. Inside and out.
There’s nothing beautiful about the way they play.
And it’s just sad to see them get humiliated over and over again.
Where’s the fight?
Where’s the pride?