Xavi on the bench / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

He may be the core of so much of Barça’s magic, but Barça still tend to get decent results without Xavi in the team. The number six has already missed four games this term, but FCB have still avoided defeat. So there is no cause for alarm now that he is out of at least the games with Getafe and Granada with hamstring trouble. Without Xavi, Barcelona have won three games (0-3 and 3-1 against Alavés and 5-0 against Cordoba) and drawn once (0-0 with Benfica).

Regular starter

Xavi has played 33 games this season, and in 29 of those he started. The team has also won three times despite him not being in the starting line-up (1-2 in Pamplona, 2-0 against Granada and 4-5 at Riazor) with the other game ending all square (2-2 at home to Malaga). So, although he is clearly an important figure in the squad, the idea of ‘Xavi-dependency’ is false.

Same reliability last season

Last season provides further evidence of this. Xavi missed 13 games, but FCB only lost once (3-2 in Pamplona) while there was also one draw (1-1 in the cup in Valencia). All the other games without Xavi were won, 11 in total, namely 5-0 versus Mallorca, 0-4 at Viktoria Plzen, 4-0 against BATE, 0-4 versus Al Sadd, 1-2 at Osasuna in the Copa del Rey, 1-4 in Malaga, 2-1 at home to Real Sociedad, 1-3 away to Leverkusen, 0-2 at Mallorca, 0-7 at Vallecas and 4-1 at the Camp Nou against Malaga.