Barcelona continue to show signs of improvement as they are now in third place, above rivals Atletico Madrid, with a game in hand. Xavi’s arrival has shaken things up for Barcelona. The former La Liga champions are almost back to playing their expansive and dominant style of football. The team is far from a finished product but with the amount of potential that Xavi has at his disposal, he is not far away from making Barca a world-class team once again.
Playing away against Elche, Barca were trailing 0-1 but completed a fine comeback to script a 2-1 win. The Blaugrana were brought back into the game by an equalizer from Ferran Torres. They took the lead following Memphis Depay’s composed penalty. The Dutchman slotted the ball into the top-right corner to bury one of the best penalties ever taken. All in all, Barca put in a good performance after a disappointing first half. The form of Marc Andre Ter-Stegen remains to be a cause of concern for the 42-year-old but he is confident about the German goalkeeper coming good in due course.
Xavi on the victory
After sealing the three points, Xavi was quick to realize the value of this victory. The legendary midfielder-turned coach believes that the victory against Elche is a positive result in light of his team’s work behind the scenes. Post the international break in January, Barca have looked like a different team with the midfield and attack playing as one. There is still some work left to be done in the defense department but they have shown signs of improvement as well.
“This is a victory that helps us endorse what we’re working on”
Xavi on his team’s performance
Edgar Badia had a memorable game. The Elche skipper made a series of great saves to deny Barcelona the chance to run away with the game. The Spaniard’s performance was acknowledged by Xavi, who in his words, ‘had a great game’.
“I went to the break very upset, we were losing a game that we should have been winning due to the chances generated, knowing that Badía had a great game. I was convinced that if we attacked better we would win.”
Xavi continues to keep faith in Ronald Araujo
Ronald Araujo has become one of the undisputed starters in the current Barca lineup. The Uruguyan defender has displaced Clement Lenglet and Eric Garcia from the top spot in the pecking order. If Araujo is fit, he plays. His warrior-like mentality has helped Barca in crunch situations and the 23-year-old is rapidly developing into one of the best central defenders in the world. One of Aruajo’s main crticising points has always been his ball control but he seems to have improved that aspect of his game. His versatility has allowed Xavi to play him as a full-back as and when he is needed there.
“Araújo is the footballer who has improved the most since we arrived. He is growing a lot with the ball, which he had to improve because he is one of the best defensively, and he is doing a lot.”
A medical student with an avid interest for the game.