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Barcelona get out of jail against Espanyol despite Xavi’s tactics

The visitors salvaged a point in the 96th minute

RCD Espanyol v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Let’s be honest, if Ronald Koeman had employed the tactics that Xavi did at Espanyol, he’d have been slated for it.

Throwing cross after cross into the box and hoping that someone would get a head on it is straight out of the Dutchman’s playbook.

Against an Espanyol team that were there for the taking given their current form, that’s nowhere near good enough.

Xavi might well be the natural heir to Pep, but he has an awful lot to learn on the evidence of what we saw at the RCDE Stadium.

After going ahead so early, the derby was there for the taking, and but for a marginal VAR decision, the Blaugranes might well have taken all three points.

RCD Espanyol v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images
RCD Espanyol v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As it was, Espanyol were the team doing all the running. Like their lives depended on it.

Adama Traore impressed again, and a second assist as well as a shot on target is a reasonable enough return at this stage.

It certainly shows that the wide man is already in the groove as far as the way Xavi generally wants to play is concerned.

The issue at hand, however, is perhaps Xavi’s inability at the very top level at management. Parachuted in earlier than he thought, he has no real room for failure.

RCD Espanyol v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

If his answer to a team who aren’t anywhere close to the tougher opponents Barca will face between now and the end of the season, is to just keep throwing on strikers and them bombarding the opposition with crosses, he’s going to be found out as a coach sooner rather than later.

His cause hasn’t been helped by Gerard Pique either. The centre-back allowed his frustrations to get the better of him, and now he too will be missing. On the evidence of Eric Garcia’s performance, that’s a worry.

Maybe it’s a game to be put down to experience and to be used as a tool with which to motivate the players as the Europa League comes back around, and the league games become ever more important in terms of taking all three points.

Xavi will have to shoulder the blame for this one, and though he was much maligned, Luuk de Jong deserves the plaudits for being his manager and Barca’s saviour once more.

His skill set may be limited, but his importance to the team this season can’t be questioned.

Best to not dwell on this one, and move on quickly...