Xavi Hernández has had his ups and downs as Barcelona coach since taking over 14 months ago, with failures in European competition and quite a few poor performances in key matches, but the one thing that is undeniable is that Xavi knows how to win La Liga matches.
In fact, the coach had a very dominant 2022 from a strictly statistical perspective.
34 wins and only 4 losses in 43 games is truly impressive, and a clean sheet every other game also shows a remarkable improvement from the Ronald Koeman days. Barça were 9th in the table before Xavi took over last season, but they flirted with the title in 2022 and are top of the table entering 2023.
La Liga isn’t as strong as it used to be, and Barça still don’t play a consistently strong brand of football. But any coach, of any team, in any league, with these kinds of numbers would be given a real chance to build something over several seasons.
But this is Barcelona, and the pressure is big to win every game playing very well. If the dominance over the league doesn’t translate to a title in 2023 and the Europa League performance is once again a disappointment, he won’t be able to make a good enough argument on stats alone.
There is a danger of lowering the bar of expectations based on just how awful 2021 was under Koeman. But this is Barcelona, and huge risk was taken to invest in the squad over the summer. Results are good so far, but the dominance of 2022 was mostly statistical. 2023 needs to come with great football, great wins and trophies. If not, it’s totally okay to question the coach.