One match that was bad spoiled the year of Barcelona in 2018/19. The 4-0 capitulation in Anfield left the Blaugrana dealing with self-doubt again. A pattern that needed to be broken was recognized by some. Others made light of the result. Thus far in 2019/20, the group of Ernesto Valverde appears to justify the former. After a slow start with the recovery of Lionel Messi takes more than expected, Barcelona top La Liga but they don’t dominate. Forty points leave them level with just five and Real Madrid beyond Sevilla and Atletico. On the 1 hand, their attack is classic. Forty-nine goals are that the Primera Division’s greatest with second-ranked Real registering 13 fewer goals. However, their defence is another matter. Conceding 23 finds them joint-sixth, sending a goal less than twice of the two Madrid giants. They struggle away while they are perfect in the home. Barca’s record in their ten road matches drops them to fourth at the away table. With three beats and three attractions, Ernesto Valverde’s squad wins less than half their league games outside the Nou Camp. They threw away a two-point lead after stumbling in the RCDE contrary to Espanyol into a 2-2 draw.

Barcelona no more intimidate opponents. This was evident in the Clasico when they clung to a goalless draw against Los Blancos. The side of Zinedine Zidane exposed the rearguard of Valverde more than once and outmuscled their opponents. The people tried almost twice the shots and place four on target to Barca’s two while ceding possession 47:53%. The Super Copa de Espana in Saudi Arabia brought additional humiliation. When Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid stunned them to advance to the final, Barca compensated to get a performance. Following the 3-2 defeat, critics’ voices grew louder. Barca fans just want out one thing Ernesto Valverde, at this stage. They have not just inundated social media but the club switchboards while calling for the Bilbao boss’ dismissal. At last, the club appears to be listening. Rumours are rife the Spaniard’s time is up in the Catalunyan funding. Reports maintain the Blaugrana intend to substitute Valverde with former midfielder, Xavi Hernandez. Club agents held talks with the manager. Xavi’s return to the Nou Camp would provoke some Barca supporters. The onfield general during the gold Guardiola age, he went on to captain the team to a historic treble in 2014/15. He holds the record for most appearances. His relations to the club make him a fit as manager. He began his football career at La Masia, graduated the academy and improved through the youth set before he left the initial team. His job defined Barca’s tiki-taka style. After retiring, he championed the team and on media. Under Xavi, the artistry that lifted them under Pep Guardiola to heights would be revived by the team. Barca lovers lament that lost identity. It is not difficult to see why many hope the prior No.6 takes charge in the dugout. The plank could regain their trust by minding him.

When you get right down to brass tacks and move past the romantic ideas, appointing Xavi becomes an option. He is under a year. The Qatari Stars League is a far cry from La Liga in terms of quality but there are parallels between his work and Valverde. Al-Sadd lie in the table, nine points behind Al-Duhail albeit using a match in hand to the Club World Cup following their sojourn. Like Barcelona, Al-Sadd dominate the league with 33 goals in 11 games. Regrettably, their defence is exceedingly porous, conceding 20 in that span. Only four clubs at the division that is 12-team select on the ball in their net.If anything, appointing Xavi as Barcelona manager exacerbates problems. Where the Blaugrana must tighten up defensively, he’s likely to make them vulnerable. As opposed to placing them back they may be led by the club legend farther down the garden path. With such a tight race in La Liga and the Champions League knockout rounds no picnic, will the club manage to trace its heart? It’s better to leave the past in the past.