A mere look at the La Liga table should tell FC Barcelona fans and critics that life has improved under head coach Xavi Hernandez.
But how does he compare against his predecessor and fellow legendary ex-midfielder Ronald Koeman after the same amount of games despite the Blaugrana’s comfortable standing five points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table?
Xavi succeded the ‘Dream Team’ icon in November 2021 after a 1-0 away defeat to Rayo Vallecano proved a step too far for president Joan Laporta and his board, who swiftly fired Koeman.
The former number ‘6’ whose old shirt is now worn by Gavi has led the Barca team for 67 matches.
Though this wasn’t always the case as Xavi struggled to transmit his ideas to his players and stuttered through the remainder of the 2021-2022 season, he now boasts more victories than the Dutchman with 42 to 39 and a better overall winning percentage as pointed out by SPORT.
He also has less defeats (12) to his name than Koeman (16) did after 67 outings, with the losing percentage understandably better at 17.9% to 23.8%.
With Lionel Messi leading the way in 2020-2021, though, which was Koeman’s only full season at the wheel, his side scored more goals at 2.05 per game compared to Xavi’s 1.95.
Given Xavi’s stingy defense has only conceded six goals all term, though, it is no surprise that it has conceded less goals than Koeman’s at 75 goals to 67 or rather 1.11 goals per game to 0.98 goals per game.
The two tacticians are currently tied on silverware, however. The Copa del Rey won in April 2021 was the last of Messi’s time at the club before he departed for Paris Saint Germain on a free transfer that summer. And it was also the last won by the club in general until Xavi’s Barca trounced Real Madrid 3-1 in the Spanish Super Cup final in Riyadh last month.
Koeman has the better of Xavi in the Champions League up until now, after Xavi’s teams crashed out of the group phase twice but Koeman’s reached the last 16 in 2020.
All in all, however, the overall stats and league table do not lie. Xavi’s outfit is clearly better than Koeman’s, plays more attractive football, and does not conceded goals or surrender leads at will.
As Barca are on course for a record-breaking 100-point season which will be enough to win them the La Liga title, he will also boost his trophy haul in no time and is still in both the Copa del Rey – where they will meet Madrid in the semi-finals – and the Europa League.