The Xavi era begins auspiciously. For his first match as a new FC Barcelona coach, the former Spanish midfielder (41) saw his team achieve a seductive success (1-0) in the derby against Espanyol this Saturday night in La Liga.
Beyond the narrow score (the only goal of the game was scored by Memphis (48th) from the penalty spot), Barça showed an enthusiastic face and carried forward. Xavi Hernandez has also impregnated his paw on his collective from the kickoff, by establishing 8 players from the Masia, including the young Ilias Akhomach (17 years). A choice that does not necessarily pay off. For his first, the young Spaniard was too shy, and even harvested a huge opportunity (13th), spoiling a center back from Gavi at the penalty spot, shooting above. He was replaced by the Moroccan Abde (19), who was omnipresent in the second act, with fiery legs on his right side (61st, 73rd, 95th).
Barça suffering in the last quarter of an hour, two posts for Espanyol
The last quarter of an hour, however, was stifling. After his constant going and his activity throughout the first hour, Barça gradually died out at the end of the match. Sparkling Espanyol striker Raul de Tomas, who has been walking on the water since the start of the season, missed several equalizer points. The post notably saved Ter Stegen twice (81st, 86th).
Barca attempted 11 strikes in the first half against Espanyol. This is the highest total for the Blaugrana club since the start of the season (source: Opta).
Despite a complicated end to the match, the Barcelonans still managed to keep the result, unlike the last day at Celta Vigo (3-3), after having led by 3 goals at the break. Barça, who remained in 4 games without a win in La Liga, is temporarily back to 6th place in the standings.