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The most recognizable Barcelona of the whole year

Barcelona is disheveled, with a certainty that Xavi’s team lacked a few weeks ago. There is the team with the feeling that the objectives, although minor due to the weight of a disastrous start to the season, they are affordable and is in the effort to get them all. Fourth place in the League and the Europa League title.

In Elche the eleven culé dispatched a very complete match, with good play, vertical, combinative. He played Xavi’s team to have the ball and look for Aubameyang, Dembele and Gavi. It was a more comfortable game to win having mediated an efficiency in front of goal that is presupposed for a team of this level but that has not fully arrived. Perhaps the only mole from the Xavi era.

The Barça block has chained three consecutive victories and they see different faces to those that existed at the beginning of January. By then the team was wandering around the table, not finding a model, everything was going wrong and the results did not arrive. Now everything is conviction with things to improve, of course. It is clear that no one is ever 100% happy and Xavi is a perfectionist. He was as a player and he seeks to be as a coach.

Perhaps it was the day of Atlético when everything started to go well. When Xavi found that with these ingredients a tasty cake could be made. Perhaps it was that day when the coach was inspired, when he began to perfect the high pressure, when he sought the direct style to also hurt the counter. And it was that day, when almost inadvertently, with the expulsion of Dani Alves, Xavi saw how does the team know how to suffer when they are worse given. Everything came together to start making good games. Except for the draw in Cornellá and against Napoles, all have been victories (Valencia, Athletic, Napoles in Italy and Elche).

Yesterday at the Martínez Valero, however, he suffered from those things that football has. He suffered because in a very decent match, Pedri sent a rebound towards his goal that Fidel made it 1-0. He suffered Barcelona because the blow was great. Losing when you should be winning it’s never good business. It dries your mind, it blocks you to such an extent that Barcelona didn’t appear until a quarter of an hour after the restart.

It is true that he appeared strongly, with a great Adama and with a Ferrán who appeared in the second part to be the protagonist. He lacks a goal, he will catch it, but the Valencian tied the game and lived better since then. He had chances to score but was not successful. It was a clear penalty from Barragán, by hand, which allowed Memphis to make it 1-2.

The azulgrana team had already done the most difficult and Xavi must have thought that, even if they got some counterattack, better save what you already had, you were not going to lose it along the way. Barcelona kept the clothes and took care of being together in front of Ter Stegen. It is true that he did not suffer excessively except in a play that Elche requested as a penalty and that Hernández Hernández, perfectly placed, resolved well. Explaining to the local players that Jordi Alba had his hand down and in a natural position.

I wanted to stop at this detail. In the referee. I get the feeling that Hernández Hernández is a better referee than he is usually considered. He explains everything perfectly, he talks to the players, he is direct, he whistles little but he whistles clearly. It seems to me that he is a physical wonder, perhaps the best prepared of this generation somewhat vilified, perhaps unfairly, by many fans and the press. The canary is a good soccer referee, exposed to continuous phobias by some who watch soccer dressed in a scarf.

There are two weeks left for the classic and although Madrid has the league tied, it is not having a bad game for that Sunday, March 20. The Super Cup was already very good and Barça was out of breath, without football. This one in fifteen days has been revitalized. For the forcefulness of Madrid and for the improvement of Barcelona. It is going to be exciting and we did not expect it because we considered, this year, the eternal rivalry half dead.

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