Xavi's start at Barca no better than Koeman's after Betis defeat

Stefan Bienkowski
Stefan Bienkowski 4 Dec 2021 19:28 CET 3 min read
Al Sadd head coach Xavi is in line to be named Barcelona head coach

Even the most optimistic of Barcelona fans would have admitted that Xavi’s triumphant return wouldn’t exactly mean an instant change in fortunes for the club.

The young manager may have the tactics, training and ideas to take Barca back to the top, but at the end of the day Xavi was still limited by the same error-prone squad that spelled the end of Ronald Koeman’s time at the club.

This was once again made all too clear on Saturday afternoon, when the Catalan side welcomed an impressive Betis side to Camp Nou and once again Xavi’s side were reminded that the rebuild wouldn’t be easy.

Despite an early chance from Philippe Coutinho in the first half and then another two or three opportunities from Ousmane Dembele in the second, it was Betis that bagged the all important goal around 10 minutes from time when Juanmi was played through by Cristian Tello and buried the ball into the bottom right corner to claim all three points.

The result not only left Barca in seventh place and out of the European places, but also confirmed that Xavi’s (re)start to life at the club wouldn’t be as easy as first thought.

Xavis’ record compared to Koeman’s

Saturday’s result was Xavi’s fourth game in charge of Barcelona and now means that the manager has won just two of his first handful of games to date.

Despite victories over Espanyol and Villarreal in La Liga, Xavi’s Barca side were held to a 0-0 draw against Benfica in the Champions League and now this defeat to Betis.

Intriguingly enough, Xavi’s first four games not only suggest there’s plenty of work to be done, but also mirror Koeman’s first four games in charge of the club, when the Dutch manager beat Villarreall and Celta Vigo, but then went on to draw with Sevilla and lose to Getafe.

As such, at this early stage, Xavi has failed to impress upon his return to the club and will have to do much better in the club’s coming fixtures to shake off any unwanted comparisons to Koeman in the future.