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This Week in Barça B: Impressing the boss

The unbeaten streak continues, and a youngster catches the eye

FC Barcelona v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Youth League Photo by Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

As we reach the international break, Barcelona’s first team begins a new era with club legend Xavi Hernández taking over as head coach. Xavi has a big job ahead of him to return the Blaugrana to the glory years that he was part of, and he might have some really good tools to work with at Barça B.

The B-team is currently enjoying of a five-game unbeaten streak and has reached a playoff spot for the first time all season in the Third Division thanks to a brilliant 4-0 win against Sevilla Atlético last Saturday. After a slow start to the campaign the young Blaugrana are finding their footing and starting to look like real promotion contenders, with 19 points from the first 11 games, 14 goals scored and just eight conceded.

And Saturday’s win had a special spectator: Xavi himself was at the Johan Cruyff Stadium to watch the kids play, and he saw some impressive performances. The best one came from 17-year-old winger Ilias Akhomach, who scored twice against Sevilla. And you should start getting used to that name.

Akhomach is a left-footed winger who is still technically a Juvenil A player, part of Barça’s under-17 squad. But much like Gavi he has easily outplayed his competition at that level and has already become a starter at Barça B alongside Ferran Jutglá and Ángel Rodado in the front three. All three of them will train with Xavi and the first team during the international break, and reports coming out of Spain say that Xavi really likes Akhomach.

Sergi Barjuan will be back as Barça B coach after a week as the interim first team coach, and he returns to a side in great form. After the early season attacking struggles the team is starting to take their chances while also having the second-best defensive record in the division, and that balance is making Barça B a true challenger to Villarreal B, the early season pace-setters who have pretty much destroyed everyone in their path so far.

But it’s not just about their results. The true purpose of Barça B is nurturing young players who can become stars at the next level, and we are seeing some truly excellent performances from the likes of right-back Guillem Jaime, center-back Arnau Comas, midfielder Jandro Orellana and the aforementioned front three of Jutglà, Rodado and Akhomach.

With all of the first team injuries Xavi will have no choice but to call up Barça B talent during his first few weeks in charge, and those five names might be at the top of his list. They are starting to look too good for the Third Division, and like Gavi, Nico González and Alejandro Balde they might already be first team players in the eyes of the new management team.

The win against Sevilla was the perfect storm. Not only did it help the team as a whole in the table, it also shined the spotlight on some really interesting players for the new boss to look at. The first team needs a lot of work, but Barça B look really good right now. And that’s good news for everyone.