FC Barcelona Manager Xavi Set To Abandon Four Man Midfield After Manchester United Europa League Exit

FC Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez looks set to abandon his four-man midfield system following his team’s humiliating Europa League exit to Manchester United on Thursday.

The approach has had much to do with putting the Catalans on course for a first La Liga title win since 2019.

Currently seven points clear, they can extend this to 10 with a win away at Almeria on Sunday afternoon.

Xavi’s use of the strategy was something new for 2023, and came to prominence in the 3-1 January thrashing of Real Madrid the Spanish Super Cup final.


The legendary midfielder had previously picked Pedri as a false left winger in what he swears isn’t a 4-4-2.

But for the decider in Riyadh, Gavi was deployed in the position to great effect and scored the opener before notching two assists for Robert Lewandowski and Ousmane Dembele.

The system also brought out the best in Frenkie de Jong as he sat deeper with Busquets by his side. When Busquets and Pedri became injured, Xavi stuck to his guns for last Sunday’s 2-0 win over Villarreal while Franck Kessie and Sergi Roberto were given rare starts.

Midweek at Old Trafford, Xavi remained stubborn despite Gavi being unavailable too due to a suspension. He gave Kessie and Roberto first XI runs again, while Busquets returned and partnered De Jong.


Barca put on a solid first half with Kessie and Roberto particularly impressive, however they were overrun in the second leg’s second instalment. Going 1-0 up early due to a Lewandowski penalty, they succumbed to two strikes from Brazilian duo Fred and Antony, losing 2-1 on the evening and 4-3 on aggregate.

According to publications such as SPORT, Xavi will abandon the system for the trip to Almeria, but it is not clear if this is down to what he dubbed a “very disappointing” collapse in northwestern England.

Most likely, it is because it gives Ferran Torres the chance of getting the nod. Some felt he should have against United due to his MVP display against Villarreal and experience in the PremierPINC


If Xavi opts for a 4-3-3 this weekend, the €55mn ($58mn) signing from Manchester City will play on the left wing as Raphinha occupies the right to Lewandowski’s side.

When Pedri comes back from his knock, Xavi could rejig again as the box system often gives his team total control of the game with the Spanish international, De Jong and Busquets able to dictate the tempo as Gavi presses intensely.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomsanderson/2023/02/26/fc-barcelona-manager-xavi-set-to-abandon-four-man-midfield-after-manchester-united-europa-league-exit/