Barcelona currently sit nine points behind La Liga leaders Girona and are third in the table as we head into Christmas, so one is justified to wonder whether or not the Catalans have any chance of coming back to defend their crown with a little over 20 games to go.
If there’s one person who remains optimistic, it’s Barça manager Xavi Hernández, who was asked about the Blaugrana’s title chances in his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s clash with bottom of the table Almería.
The boss thinks there’s still time to make a comeback for the ages, but Xavi thinks the reigning champions have no margin for error and must clean up the mistakes and lack of effectiveness in front of goal that have led to a near double-digit deficit in the table after the first 17 games.
“We can still come back in LaLiga but we can’t slip up anymore. We are paying for too many mistakes and losing too many points. We have to end the year positively and be even better in the second half of the season.
“Girona — who I have already said are a direct rival — and Real Madrid aren’t slipping up, but we just have to go step by step for now.”
Xavi’s approach is the correct one. All of the mistakes from the first 17 games are in the past, and it’s way too early to give up on the league. As long as Barça get a consistent run of results and start to put pressure on the leaders, at some point there might be an opening and the Blaugrana must be ready to pounce.
The January transfer window will bring a fresh and exciting new face in Vitor Roque who might help solve the finishing issues, and a replacement for Gavi in midfield could also arrive to add a different dynamic to the squad.
Maybe the holiday break will help recharge the batteries and get the players away from all the negativity, and a new year could be a new beginning as we start the second half of the season.
As of now, all we can do is hope.