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Xavi ready to drop Barcelona duo to implement stronger pressing system – report

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona, over the last several years, have been built on a very specific ideology and style. Positionless, controlled, free-flowing football implemented by the likes of Johan Cruyff, Rinus Michels, Pep Guardiola, and countless others stand as the cornerstone of modern-day football.

Another important pillar of this style is high and aggressive pressing. Guardiola’s Barcelona, for example, made it a rule to win back the ball within six seconds of losing it through calculated, team defending.

The art of pressing was lost on Barcelona for several years in between, though, largely due to an ageing squad, and/or poor implementation. However, it was restored courtesy of Xavi, who made his Catalan side one of the best pressers in Europe.

This season, however, they seem to be losing it again, slowly. Pedri and Gavi’s injuries have a lot to do with it, alongside the constantly changing nature of the lineups.

As Barcelona try to balance their less-than-ideal performances, restoring his team’s pressing should be very high on the bucket list. One of the ways to do it is to cut out some personnel from the starting lineup.

Lewandowski, Felix in the line of fire

A report from MARCA says that Xavi has given most of the team half a season to show their worth in different ways on the pitch, and has finally had enough. He is ready to leave out players from games despite their reputation and price.

Two of the players first in the line of fire are Robert Lewandowski and Joao Felix. Neither of them are valuable players off-the-ball as they provide very little intensity while pressing.

Xavi was happy to leave out Felix from the starting lineup altogether for Ferran Torres, who scored the equaliser and pressed brilliantly. He also replaced Lewa around the 70th-minute mark to bring on the Portuguese with the game still at 1-1.

The relentless nature of Ferran and Raphinha’s game has been awarded with regular game time, and if Lewandowski and Felix do not fix up soon enough, they might not have a seat on the table at all.

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