Barcelona’s Tactical Tweaks: Xavi’s Midfield Solutions Amidst Absences

Xavi / FC Barcelona
Xavi / FC Barcelona

Xavi plans to return to three natural forwards following midfield injury concerns.

In recent games, FC Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández had found a formula that brought more solidity to his team. The Blaugrana coach once again deployed a midfielder on the wing and Andreas Christensen in the pivot. This new tactical variation provided more defensive solidity and freed up the midfielders in the offensive phase. The injuries to Frenkie de Jong and Pedri González have once again left the Barcelona team particularly affected.

Two key players who will be sidelined for several weeks, as confirmed by Xavi himself. Now, the Barcelona coach has four midfielders, in addition to Christensen, who is playing as a defensive midfielder: Gündogan, Fermín, Oriol Romeu, and Sergi Roberto will need to fill the remaining two positions.

According to Ferran Martinez of Mundo Deportivo, the first seems clear for the German, who has been playing regularly and is the real leader in the midfield this season. However, without Pedri or De Jong, as seen in San Mamés, he will have to drop deeper and lose influence in the offensive phase. The remaining spot will be contested between Sergi Roberto and Fermín, as Xavi sees Oriol Romeu more as a pivot. In San Mamés, Xavi initially opted for Fermín on the wing, adding sacrifice and more solidity. When Pedri got injured, he dropped into midfield, and Lamine Yamal came on up front, with Xavi then opting to play with two wingers alongside Lewandowski. Furthermore, in the second half, the coach brought on Joao Félix, replacing Raphinha.

The Portuguese provide another solution to play centrally. Another option that Xavi Hernández will soon have available is Ferran Torres, who is nearing the end of his recovery. The Shark was in his best form before getting injured and is working to be at his peak for the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Napoli.