Despite coming into the game as LaLiga Santander leaders, Barcelona was outclassed by their rivals, leading Xavi Hernandez to be self critical.
“The feeling is very bad, we are having a hard time,” Xavi stated after the match.
In the draw against Inter, Barcelona were punished for two clear individual errors in defense. The critics directed blame, not without reason, towards some players.
The result seemed out of Xavi‘s control. The reactions after the Clasico are quite different. There were several decisions made by the coach that were seen as questionable, especially in the choice of player selection.
The insistence on Busquets
Sergio Busquets is clearly in decline. He once again lacked speed and forcefulness and was out played by Toni Kroos at the start of the play, which led to the first goal. He then slipped up in positioning himself when Fede Valverde shot and scored Real Madrid‘s second.
The substitution of Frenkie de Jong in place of Busquets helped Barcelona improve.
The absence of Gavi
While Gavi was rested following the Champions League game against Inter, the one who seemed to be exhausted was Pedri. The game took its toll on the Canary Islander and it was noticeable in his performance.
Xavi failed to detect his fatigue and left him on the pitch for 83 minutes. Gavi eventually made his way onto the field with half an hour to go and put in an energetic display, proving that the coach made the wrong decision.
Blind confidence in the wingers
Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha started as the two wingers for Barcelona despite their poor form in recent times. Against Real Madrid they failed to generate danger with the entries of Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati increasing Barcelona‘s threat in attack.
Dembele and Raphinha‘s immobility in an attacking three and his insistence to play them is beginning to cost the Catalan coach.
The substitution of Balde
Finally, the substitution of Alejandro Balde, proved to be one of the costliest errors of all. The left-back was having a good game and while it was not his most prolific night in terms of offensive output, he was frequently in the opponent’s area.
The introduction of Jordi Alba, on the other hand, did nothing to improve Barcelona‘s performance.