Sergi Roberto of FC Barcelona celebrate a goal during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Spotify Camp Nou on March 19, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain

Comparing Barcelona’s 2022-23 record to the legendary ’08-09 team at the same stage

In his first full season at the helm of Barcelona, Xavi Hernandez looks set to emulate his great mentor Pep Guardiola and lead his boyhood club to the La Liga title. 

Xavi was one of the best midfielders of his generation, but he took his game to a whole new level following the appointment of Guardiola in 2008. As the metronome in the centre of the park for that great side, Xavi registered 30 assists and scored eight goals as Barcelona claimed a historic treble in 2008-09.

The La Masia academy graduate evidently learned a lot from Guardiola during his four years playing under the tactician.

“My concept is very similar,” Xavi told ManCity.com back in 2020 as he started his coaching journey with Qatari outfit Al Sadd.

“Guardiola also wants to be dominant, he wants to have the ball, strong possession, lots of attacking movements… It’s ultimately about being proactive within the game. It’s about skilfully attacking the opponent in a certain way. In this sense it is not my idea.

“I’ve learned a lot with Guardiola, from the way he is, the ambition he has, the desire and passion that he feels. He’s a football-obsessed tactician and it has been a pleasure to be around him. We talk often. We’ve got a good relationship.  We met up in the summer and grabbed a bite to eat, which was really nice.

“To be honest, I consider him the best coach in the world right now. So any knowledge he can impart to me will be more than welcome. It’s a privilege to have him around contributing ideas.”

With 12 games left to play in the 2022-23 campaign, Barcelona have opened up a 12-point lead over second-place Real Madrid.

They could still achieve the feat of a domestic treble, having already claimed the Spanish Super Cup with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Los Blancos, while they lead their great rivals 1-0 at the halfway stage of the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

With Barcelona’s (practically) league-sealing 2-1 home victory over Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Xavi became the club’s first coach to register three El Clasico victories in a single campaign since Guardiola.

The one area in which La Blaugrana have disappointed this season has been their European record. They were eliminated in the Champions League at the group stage and lost their first knockout tie in the Europa League against Manchester United.

However, their league record is just as impressive as that great side, if not more so.

After the same number of games in 2008-09, Guardiola’s side had five fewer points, with a six-point lead over Real Madrid. They were considerably more free-scoring, averaging almost three goals per game, but they weren’t as solid at the back as Xavi’s 2022-23 side – who have remarkably conceded just nine goals in 26 La Liga outings and boast the best defensive record in Europe this season.

Here’s how Barcelona’s La Liga record in 2022-23 compares to the 2008-09 side at the same stage.

2022-23 (La Liga)

Played: 26

Points: 68
Won: 22
Drawn: 2
Lost: 2

Goals for: 49
Goals per game: 1.88
Goals against: 9
Goals against per game: 0.34

Points per game: 2.61
Win rate: 84.6%
Loss rate: 7.6%

READ: 7 players Xavi has improved at Barcelona: De Jong, Dembele…

2008-09 (La Liga)

Played: 26
Points: 63
Won: 20
Drawn: 3
Lost: 3

Goals for: 76
Goals per game: 2.92
Goals against: 24
Goals against per game: 0.92

Points per game: 2.42
Win rate: 76.9%
Loss rate: 11.5%

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