Xavi Hernandez has accepted Barcelona’s offer to replace Ronald Koeman as the club’s manager according to the English newspaper The Guardian. Xavi, a former captain has been managing Qatari club Al Sadd since 2019 and he has been constantly linked to the Barcelona job ever since.
As expected, Xavi’s tactics are heavily influenced by Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola. During his time at Al Sadd, he has employed the 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 formations quite often. At the start of the 20/21 season, Xavi also tried out the 4-2-3-1 formation and then moving on to a 3-4-1-2 formation. Like all good managers, this shows the tactical flexibility of Xavi to adjust to the squad’s talents and the situation. Whatever the formation he has employed at Al Sadd, the influence of Guardiola is clear to see. Al Sadd’s centerbacks are key to their play as they are expected to be good passers and generally are the originators of attacking moves. Also, the fullbacks or the wingbacks are key in transitional phases and Xavi has generally preferred pacy players in these roles.
At Barcelona, he might tweak the formation as he get to know the strengths and weaknesses of various players in the Barcelona squad more but as a starting points he is expected to go for the 4-3-3 formation.
Barcelona expected 4-3-3 formation under Xavi Hernandez
We can expect to see a return of the high line, high pressing, fullbacks taking an active part in build up play, midfield dominating possession, etc. Whether these are the right tactics for the current Barcelona squad or not is something only time will tell.