Things that Xavi needs to get done right away in Barcelona

Xavi Hernández the former Al Sadd coach, faces an uphill task in turning around the fortunes of Barcelona, a club whose star has been gradually losing its shine but still attracts widespread support across Africa. Fixing the team overnight is a tad ambitious, but some issues require Xavi’s urgent attention for the Catalan club to regain some of its past glory.

The lack of attack chemistry

The current problem the team is facing is that they have failed to score enough goals. In 2014/15, Barca were averaging 2.9 goals in each game. This year the score count had dropped to 1.2 goals per game in the first 14 fixtures. While this is not impressive, it is not as bad as it seems given that the team is learning a new attack model that is devoid of Lionel Messi’s skillset. Xavi needs to deploy his forwards to build formidable chemistry between players like Ansu Fati and Memphis Depay.

The missing full-backs

An area that has seen a critical lapse is both the right and left full-back. Although Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba have been playing rather well themselves, they have had no clear deputy since the club sold off their back-up full-backs to raise funds in the summer. Xavi will need to find a solution without spending money, such as giving more time to players like the 18-year-old Alejandro Balde or convincing guys like Sergi Roberto that his primary position will have to be right back.

Ter Stegen’s bad shape

Although Marc Andre ter Stegen was one of Barcelona’s most prized players, the German goalie hasn’t played well since the season started. He needs to return to his best if the team is to return to the table of contenders for top titles in the near future. Xavi is familiar with Ter Stegen from their previous time together and needs to encourage his former teammate so he can confidently regain his vigour and continue his streak of saving balls.

Improving the center of defense

As if Ter Stegen form was not bad enough, Barcelona’s backline has had leaks through which many goals have escaped this year. Xavi must address this issue. Although Gerard Pique is a great footballer, he is not the player he was five years ago. It is not clear if Eric Garcia or Ronald Araujo should partner with him. Xavi needs to organize a central defensive duo that ensures Piques’ sidekick grasps the nuances of his role.

By Mark Kawalya

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