Unraveling Barcelona’s Struggles: Players’ Responsibility in the Final Third

With Barcelona’s terrible form recently, is Xavi to blame or the players?

In the intricate web of Barcelona’s current struggles, a closer inspection reveals that the root of the problem may lie more with the players than with the tactician at the helm, Xavi Hernandez. While the team’s lack of effectiveness and clinicality in the final third is undeniably costing crucial points, it’s imperative to recognize that the burden on the players is more significant than meets the eye.

Xavi has repeatedly emphasized the importance of refining finishing and touches in training, yet the evident disparity between training ground prowess and on-field execution persists. The critical question arises: Can Xavi truly influence the players’ decision-making and execution in the decisive moments of a match?

The team’s inefficiency in front of goal not only impacts the scoreboard but also weighs heavily on the players’ confidence, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of underperformance. While Xavi’s responsibility encompasses selecting the right personnel, dominating opponents, building from the back, fostering creativity, implementing pressure and intensity, and making astute in-game decisions, the final execution in the attacking third remains largely in the hands of the players.

Delving into the statistics, Barcelona’s expected goals (xG) of 37.8 underline the team’s ability to generate scoring opportunities, but the staggering 44 big chances missed highlight the players’ struggle to convert these opportunities into goals. Notably, the team boasts the most chances created in Europe’s top five leagues, showcasing their ability to carve open opposition defences. However, the inability to capitalize on these chances has led to a concerning trend of going 17 consecutive games without winning by more than a single goal.

Xavi, in his role as manager, has shown moments of brilliance in implementing his tactical vision, making necessary adjustments during games, and steering the team through challenging periods. However, he remains limited in directly influencing the players’ finishing abilities, a facet of the game that largely relies on individual skill, composure, and decision-making.

The resounding support from players in the media for Xavi reinforces the notion that accountability lies with the squad. Xavi can guide, mentor, and create a conducive environment for improvement, but the onus is on the players to elevate their performances in the crucial moments that define matches.

While Barcelona navigates through a turbulent period, it becomes imperative for the players to shoulder the responsibility for their struggles in the final third. Xavi, in his managerial capacity, can only do so much, and the statistics underscore the need for a collective improvement from the players to revive the team’s fortunes.