Barcelona faced their first defeat of the Xavi Hernandez era this past Saturday when they lost 1-0 to Real Betis at Camp Nou.
Since taking over the reins in November, the 41-year-old had not lost his first three games, winning two of those. However, on Saturday, the team was unable to get past a resolute Betis defence and were made to pay late in the game through a devastating counter, with Juanmi scoring the only goal of the game.
While there has been improvement in Barca’s gameplay under Xavi, the goals and the quality chances have not been coming regularly in matches. Indeed, they won through a penalty in his first game against Espanyol, failed to score against Benfica and had some element of fortune in their win over Villarreal.
However, it must not be forgotten that the former midfielder has still been at the helm of affairs for just a month. And that is what journalist Alfredo Martinez believes, as he claimed that the Barca legend is the right man to take the team forward.
Speaking on Onda Cero, Martinez said: “Xavi is not the problem. Xavi is the solution.”
The defeat on Saturday leaves the Catalan heavyweights a whopping 16 points behind leaders and arch-rivals Real Madrid in the La Liga standings. Currently seventh in the table, the Blaugrana are also six points below Atletico Madrid in fourth. So, Xavi has a huge task at his hands to turn things around at Camp Nou, and do so rather quickly.
For now, the focus shifts on what will be the ex-Al Sadd manager’s biggest test yet this Wednesday when Barcelona face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.
Xavi & co. need to win in order to make it through to the knockout stages of the competition. But beating the German champions in their own backyard is a daunting prospect for the best of teams.