The Barça he lives trapped in an exercise in daily realism. Down in the standings, 18 points behind the leader Real Madrid and five away from the Champions territory, without even having closed the first round, in the Barça dressing room they do not look beyond the game that they play, today at the Camp Nou against Elche (6.30 pm / Movistar LaLiga). Xavi’s plan goes through the day to day: take the three points to continue surviving and think about the next stop, against Sevilla on 21-D in a postponed clash in the Pizjuán. Win to win again and sigh for the mistakes of the others (those from Lopetegui receive Atlético at 9:00 p.m.). It doesn’t have an iota of margin for error, nothing. Closing 2021 with these six points is an inescapable obligation rather than stimulation.
From the visit to Villarreal, the Barça from Xavi has not celebrated a triumph again. A loss to him Betis (0-1) at the Camp Nou, another as a visitor against Bayern (3-0) and a draw on their trip to Pamplona against Osasuna (2-2).
This bad streak also extends if it focuses only on the league championship. Of the last 24 points at stake, Barça has only been able to seize 9 (two wins and three draws in eight games), a very poor booty if it is to save the season by sneaking among the European elite. The favorable historical statistics before the Elche they are more of a responsibility than an argument. The people of Elche have accumulated 10 games without scoring against Barça, with a balance of 27 goals in favor of the Catalans, and since 1978 they have not celebrated a victory, but nobody assumes that it will be like that again.
To overcome months of sports gloom and injury misery, Xavi He has not stopped shaking the starting eleven, especially in defense, trying to block the escape of goals. And he will do it again this time because Piqué will be dismissed due to suspension. In each game he has opted for an alignment with adjustments, gambling it most of the time with three centrals. I could repeat this formula given how little credible the sides are. Sunrise comes out of injury and Dest does not convince him. He will be able to populate the average with the usual mixture of Busquets and De Jong with the youngest and in front, the arsenal that he has left, with the doubt of whether he will repeat with Luuk de Jong, increasingly outside the team, the dressing room and the club. Beyond systems and absences, Barça is urged to find victory again. There is no other way to get hooked on the League van. And you should do it at home. The Barça coach is obsessed with the Camp Nou being a fort again, demonstrating its absolute authority and reliability.
Opposite, a Elche congested by the threat of descent, two points above and entangled in uncertainty although Francisco tries to act as a psychologist. They come to beat Cádiz at home but to fall in front of Valencia, despite standing up. The new coach is recovering troops, although Kiko Casilla is giving him an unexpected headache. The Elche clings to the exploits of Betis (0-1), Alavés (1-1) and Granada (1-1) to dream of their particular feat