Barça is ‘the worst team in Europe’ for Xavi


By: Manu Tournoux

FC Barcelona extended its streak of three matches without a win on Saturday, after being held to a draw by Valencia (1-1) at Mestalla.

Coach Xavi Hernandez was very frustrated when he spoke to the media after the match, saying his team was one of the least effective in Europe. Barcelona missed several chances against Valencia, but the combination of excellent goalkeeping in Giorgi Mamardashvili and poor finishing from Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Ilkay Gundogan allowed the Catalans to drop two more points in the race for the La Liga title.

Xavi’s claim surprised many, but there is certainly evidence to suggest what he said is true. Sport’s Ivan San Antonio reported after Saturday’s match that Barcelona have only scored 31% of their clear-cut chances this season, which is a dire statistic.

To put things into perspective, of the 15 teams averaging three or more big chances per game, FC Barcelona ranks dead last in terms of conversion rate of those chances, as La Pausa pointed out. There are 15 teams averaging more than 3 big chances per game in Europe’s five major leagues this season. The positive thing for Xavi is that his Barcelona team is creating these chances. However, their poor finishing ability means they are already six points off top place in La Liga, and that could be nine if Girona beat Alavès on Monday. We can therefore say that shooting training will be on the agenda during the winter break.

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