How the La Liga table would look if it began when Barcelona hired Xavi | OneFootball

How the La Liga table would look if it began when Barcelona hired Xavi

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Planet Football

On November 6, the football world finally heard the news it knew was coming: Barcelona had hired legendary midfielder Xavi to replace sacked manager Ronald Koeman and, they hoped, lead them into a new era.

It is not an easy task for the 42-year-old Catalan, who was so successful over his 17 years as a Barcelona player.

Since Xavi left Barca in 2015 to play for and then manage Qatari club Al Sadd, Barcelona have dug themselves into a deep financial hole. So deep, indeed, that they were forced to let the great Lionel Messi depart for pastures new last summer.

With Koeman at the helm, they were drifting on the pitch too.

Barcelona had won just four of their first 13 games of the season and, just as significantly, were lacking something of the identity that one has come to expect of the men in Blaugrana.

Bringing in Xavi was held up as the antidote to that. Despite his relative coaching inexperience, he is a man steeped in the vaunted Barcelona way, someone who grew up at the club in the era of Johann Cruyff’s Dream Team and played for it in the epoch of Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering pass masters.

He certainly knew what to say at his unveiling to strengthen the bond with fans, if it needed strengthening.

Standing on the Camp Nour turf, he stated: “This is the biggest club in the world and I’m going to work hard to reach your expectations. Barcelona can’t accept a draw or a defeat. We have to win all the games.

“I come prepared. My DNA didn’t change. We need to take charge, have the ball, create opportunities, be intense. We have a mission to rescue many things that were lost.”

They won Xavi’s first game, a morale-lifting 1-0 Catalan derby victory with a team much changed from the Koeman doom times.

Since, then, it has not all been plain sailing. There was a heavy loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, which resulted in Barcelona dropping in the Europa League for the first time since 2003-04. More recently, Barca were defeated by rivals Real Madrid in the Super Cup.

But there are signs of progress. Since Xavi’s arrival, Barcelona have played eight La Liga games, winning five, drawing two and losing just once.

That would put them fourth in the La Liga table since November 7, three points behind Real Madrid, two behind Real Betis, and one behind Sevilla in the same time period.

In that time, though, all three of those sides above Barca have played a game more, meaning Xavi’s men could actually go level on points with Real Madrid in the form table should they win that game in hand.

Here, we’ve taken a full look at the La Liga table over the past two-and-half months, to see how Xavi has fared in comparison to his adversaries.

1. Real Madrid – 9 games, 20 points, +11 GD 2. Real Betis – 9 games, 19 points, +14 GD 3. Sevilla – 9 games, 18 points, +4 GD 4. Barcelona – 8 games, 17 points, +5GD 5. Getafe – 9 games, 16 points, +7 GD 6. Celta de Vigo – 9 games, 15 points, +5 GD 7. Villarreal – 9 games, 14 points, +8 GD 8. Atletico Madrid – 8 games, 13 points, +3 GD 9. Athletic – 9 games, 13 points, +2 GD 10. Elche – 9 games, 12 points, -1 GD

11. Valencia – 9 games, 12 points, -2 GD 12. Rayo Vallecano – 8 games, 11 points, 0 GD 13. Espanyol – 9 games, 10 points, -5GD 14. Granada – 9 games, 10 points, -3 GD 15. Osasuna – 9 games, 9 points, -2 GD 16. Real Sociedad – 8 games, 6 points, -8 GD 17. Cadiz – 9 games, 6 points, -10 GD 18. Mallorca – 8 games, 5 points, -10 GD 19. Levante – 8 games, 5 points, -9 GD

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