Xavi’s style of play | FC Barcelona 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Barcelona beat Tottenham to close the preseason. A game that shows the style of play that Xavi needs if he wants Barcelona to be one of the best teams in Europe.

Barça’s main problem is being too vertical, wanting to get into the opponent’s box in a few passes. Players like Lewandowski or Raphinha aren’t suitable for this style, since they don’t have the necessary speed to attack space.

This means that even in plays like this, in which Balde runs up the wing, being a player who does have the speed for these movements, he doesn’t have any passing lane when he enters the box. This is due to the time it takes Raphinha and Lewandowski to run into the last third.

Being so vertical, Barcelona makes poor counter-pressing, being uncompacted, leaving players free on their backs. The midfielders are slow in defensive transitions, Barcelona suffering a lot in this type of game with a very high pace. Intelligent players with good positioning like Oriol Romeu begin to make defensive mistakes that cost goals.

Barcelona’s first goal is an example of what Xavi needs. Long possession, overloading the left flank to isolate Raphinha on the right. Oriol Romeu’s pass, taking advantage of Reguilón’s mistake, getting out of position, leaving a lot of space behind him. The Brazilian assists Lewandowski who scores with a very difficult finish.

In the third goal we see the same thing, possession from one side to the other with Gungodan setting the pace of the play. Ball for Lamine Yamal who performs an extraordinary dribble against Reguilón. The combination between Lamine Yamal, Ferrán Torres and Ansu Fati is perfect. The forward runs leaving the defence behind with an outstanding acceleration and score, in another sign of Ansu Fati’s recovery after injuries.

The minutes played by Lamine Yamal and Abde show that with the right players Barcelona can also be vertical, having explosiveness.

It’s Xavi’s time to define his style of play and with which players he wants to raise the bar to the next level.

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