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The 4 improvement points introduced by Xavi Hernández at FC Barcelona

November 5th, 2021 was the day Xavi Hernandez returned to the helm of his boyhood team, though this time as their head coach. The Terrassa-born Culé legend knew the challenge that he would be taking on, not only because of the club’s current financial situation, but also because of lack of individual quality in the squad compared to previous years.

However, after almost three months of on-field work, we can analyze the different points of improvement that Xavi has brought to the Blaugrana. Therefore, at the MBP School of Coaches, we are going to break down these key aspects in detail.

Tactical Analysis

The first aspect brought back by the new coach is the use of the GK-4-3-3 base structure. Unlike in the Ronald Koeman era, where we could see continuous changes such as the GK-4-2-3-1, or structures with three center backs, Xavi has been faithful to the traditional Barça base set-up. The team has settled in this system while still respecting the profile of the players in the squad.

From this base positioning, the side has been recovering some tactical concepts of the play essential to the philosophy of the club’s style, such as attacking width and depth.

This first aspect is reflected in the role of the Barcelona fullbacks. Regardless of the player in the position, we can see how their height on the pitch is much higher than before. In addition, they have also taken on an important role in terms of the team’s width, as on many occasions they are the ones responsible for opening up the pitch.

Another aspect that has indirectly facilitated the return to the GK-4-3-3 structure is the formation of triangles on the pitch. This has favored the creation of different passing lines, either to the first or second line, thus favoring the associative style of play of the Culés.

With regard to the style of play, Xavi has tried to recover basic principles of the Barça DNA, such as the importance of ‘attract to free up’. To this end, it is now more visible to see a greater number of players in the zone of intervention, not only to attract opponents to the active zone, but also to facilitate the circulation of the ball.

Moreover, the player Xavi has trused to manage Barcelona’ play has been Sergio Busquests. Although his performances this season so far have been somewhat inconsistent, Busi is undoubtedly a specialist in controlling a game, knowing how to take care of the tempo of a match through the management of the ball.

Finally, one of the most notable highlights of Xavi’s reign so far has been his confidence in the club’s academy products. La Masia is a factory of endless talent, and the former captain knows it perfectly well.

It has been increasingly common to see new players introduced into the starting line ups. Players such as Gavi Nico, Abde and Jutglà have already become regulars in the matchday squads, as well as being often picked to start the game. While some may deem this as a handicap in terms of lack of experience and maturity on the pitch, the academy players are an example in terms of the effort and enthusiasm required to help their team return to the top of the footballing elite. With some patience, Xavi will surely be able to polish these rough diamonds so that these talented youngsters will become key players for FCB over the next decade.


Although results may not have been as the Blaugrana fans would have liked, there have been several areas of improvement since Xavi’s appointment, not only at a tactical level, but also in terms of reigniting the excitement and enthusiasm of the club’s supporters about what is to come.

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