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Xavi's changes making an impact
The FC Barcelona coach certainly knows how to make the most of his bench. The productivity of his substitutes is testimony of that...
"We can make five changes and we try to make the most of them” said Xavi Hernández after the dramatic 3-2 win at Levante. And he’s not wrong. His substitutions have been working wonders in recent games.
A man who has always insisted that "every player is important” has been making some very astute tactical decisions when games haven’t quite been going to plan.
“Against Frankfurt, when Frenkie and Ousmane went on we generated more than we had done in the previous 60 minutes” he observed. “Against Levante the changes also worked, first with Pedri and Gavi and later with Luuk."
On Sunday, the young midfield duo made their mark straight away. Gavi upped the pace and created extra pressure, while the Canary Islander found new space and helped his team-mates find room in which to manoeuvre as well. It was all about creating chances where they weren't happening, reminiscent of what happened at Camp Nou against Napoli when Busquets and Gavi were sent on, and against Athletic Club with Frenkie de Jong and Dembélé entering the fray.
16 goals from the bench
The stats support the above. The goals from Pedri and Luuk and the assist from Gavi against Levante and the Frenkie de Jong assist at Eintracht mean that 29% of all goals scored since Xavi became coach have involved at least one substitute:
Luuk de Jong and Dembélé: 3 Memphisand Pedri: 2 Frenkie De Jong, Ferran Torres, Gavi, Nico, Riqui Puig and Coutinho: 1
And that's both impressive and very reassuring. The team has strength in depth, and the coach knows how to make the most of it!