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Xavi's puzzle: two full-backs and Bernardo Silva to complete Barcelona


The culé coach is looking for the last pieces to put together a team that will reconquer the Camp Nou

There are two sad images that somehow linked the Etihad Stadium with the Camp Nou on Saturday.

Off to the side, in Manchester, Bernardo Silva was the last player to leave the pitch after greeting fans and handing his shirt to a City fan.

Teammate Roger Pascual even heard a voice from one of the supporters who applauded the Portuguese: "Visca el Barça, Bernardo!".

The liturgy sounded like a farewell to a footballer who has only played 37 minutes against West Ham and Bournemouth.

The substitute Bernardo Silva surely arrived on time to later watch on television the match that the azulgrana were playing against Rayo on the other side, in Barcelona, ​​and which ended with Xavi's lament: “It was a shame and I'm disappointed;

starting like this is not the best thing”, argued the coach after the 0-0.

The match against Rayo Vallecano confirmed, regardless of the result, the needs that the Barça team still has in Xavi's opinion.

The coach needs a second interior to process the game like Pedri.

The player from Tenerife is the only one in the squad who pulls the thread of the pass and does not play with his back or facing the ball but knows how to turn to guide the game, a midfielder as essential as he is fragile due to injuries, absent in 33 games of the last season, replaced on Saturday due to discomfort against Iraola's team.

He needs help and Bernardo Silva seems to be a better companion or substitute than Frenkie de Jong, Gavi, Pjanic or Kessié, more physical midfielders who move better when driving, crashing or in close combat, different from Pedri.

More information

A disappointment at the Camp Nou: Barcelona punctures against Rayo at Lewandowski's premiere

Although he finished off more than Rayo (21 shots against four), had more possession (67%-33%) and even committed more fouls (16-14), Barça was neither precise nor effective and conceded enough chances to lose the match at the Camp Nou.

The intervention of a recovered Ter Stegen was decisive for a team repeatedly vulnerable on the flanks due to the lack of classic full-backs, Araujo overwhelmed and Jordi Alba out of focus.

Xavi also confirmed that it is essential to hire a left-hander like Marcos Alonso and to be able to be a right-hander, a position that Bellerín, a former Barça player currently at Betis, opposes.

Neither Dest nor Sergi Roberto seem to be definitive solutions for Xavi, who on occasions has preferred to displace Araujo and it is assumed that he will also do so with Koundé.

The drop list

The waiting room has three transferable forwards or with options to leave: Braithwaite, Memphis Depay and Aubameyang.

There is also a midfielder: De Jong.

And, of course, defenders: Umtiti and Dest.

The possibilities increase since the club applied the four levers and is governed by the one-for-one rule: for each euro released, it can use another to incorporate more players to those already recruited: Lewandowski, Koundé, Kessié, Christensen and Raphinha.

The four did not have a good debut against Rayo – Koundé did not play because he was not registered – despite his efforts, especially Lewandowski, who played as if he were still Bayern Munich's center forward.

The Pole, who had scored on the first day of the last seven seasons, could not make his debut as a striker in his official debut with Barça.

Although he had his chances, he did not connect with the crosses of Dembélé and Raphinha nor did the midfielders leak passes to him to face Dimitrievski.

Catena's mark and Isi's help in strategy plays – some worthy of being punished – dried up Lewandowski.

Nobody has doubts in any case about 9.

The performance of Ansu Fati was also encouraging.

He had an interesting half hour and even finished off with skill and also without luck at the goal of Rayo.

No footballer could individually solve the problem of Barça's collective game.

The team loses the urgency of wanting to score without having to weave the play, they run a lot and think little, they don't attack well and defend badly, aspects that force Xavi to intervene.

The coach seems to have identified the players he needs to finally put together a team and shape a plan that at the moment still does not fit the one he was supposed to be as captain who was the best Barcelona.

Xavi, however, always stood out for his patience, confidence and reading of the game, the same that now leads him to think that with Bernardo Silva everything would be more fluid and less direct, more harmonious and similar to Barça's style.

Coach and player are currently scheduled for the 24th when City will visit the Camp Nou in the match promoted by Unzué in the fight against ELA.

It is not known if by then both will already be part of the same team and therefore of a Barça that at the moment looks too much like last season even with Lewandowski and without Piqué.

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2022-08-14

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