Gavi powers Barcelona to their maiden title victory under Xavi

By Real11 - Jan 16 2023 312 Views


Xavi’s maiden trophy and Real Madrid distress signals: Barcelona clinch SuperCopa led by teen sensation Gavi

Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 3-1 in the Spanish Super Cup final on Sunday to win the maiden trophy of coach Xavi Hernandez’s 14 months in charge. Midfielder Gavi opened the scoring for Barça in the 33rd minute by converting a Robert Lewandowski Pass. He later made one for the Polish superstar to make it 2-0 before halftime. Gavi later in the game got another assist to his name, this time for Pedri, to complete an emphatic win in El Classico for the Spanish Giants before Benzema pulled a late goal back for the Madridistas. 

Xavi’s first trophy as Barcelona coach gives them something to build upon. Barcelona will be wary of declaring they are back after having done just that following last season’s 4-0 drubbing in the Classico, only to continue to stumble- but the fashion of Sunday’s comprehensive win and the taste of Silverware could prove a critical point in manager Xavi’s tenure if sustained success is to follow. 

With Sunday’s resounding victory, Barcelona have also put an end to an almost 1.5 year wait for silverware. The last trophy came way back in 2021 under former manager Ronald Koeman. Since being at the helm of Barcelona, Xavi has seen his side get eliminated twice from the Champions League group stages and drop out of the Copa Del Rey and the Europa League last season. 

The boss spoke this week of the significance of winning a trophy- the first since he returned to the club 14 months ago– as a platform to build upon. At the end of the day, though, it was Sunday’s clinical performance, more than the trophy itself, that will have the fans feeling good and trusting Barca can once again go toe to toe with Europe’s finest. 

They were levels above Real Madrid in terms of performance. Lewandowski could have scored before Gavi and Ousman Dembele could have asserted dominance with the third goal before Pedri did. Xavi’s tactic to go with four midfielders instead of three forwards worked like a charm, as did picking youngster Alejandro Balde over left back Jordi Alba and Marcos Alonso. 

Barcelona swarmed all over Madrid, forcing them to make mistakes and capitalise on their opportunities while remaining true to their approach. They are still in the early stages of development, so beware of false dawns, but this title, their first Supercopa since 2018, was vital for Xavi, the club, and the young players coming through, who have not always had much to grin about since getting into the first squad.

Real Madrid did not just lose this final, though losing any final is horrible enough for this team. Barcelona completely overpowered them from start to finish, unable to create opportunities in attack and failing to provide any form of defensive consistency at the back. Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is already facing significant doubts about the direction of his club and what they can achieve this season.

Besides the performance of goalkeeper Thibuat Courtois, there were no positives for the Whites. Senior pros were unable to create any impact on the game and crumbled tremendously under pressure. They just could not cope with Barca’s passing and movement. Eduardo Camavinga had to undergo yet another humiliating halfway replacement, but it was also significant that as the game progressed, seasoned campaigners Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Dani Carvajal were substituted off.

There are, indeed, mitigating considerations. The team is definitely suffering from a World Cup hangover, and this was always going to be a difficult moment. But, having lost the Supercopa, they'll return to Spain to find Barcelona leading LaLiga as well, and a difficult Copa del Rey last 16 game away to Villarreal – who defeated them in the league last week- next on the schedule. 

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