Gavi, Balde in: 4 most improved players under Xavi

Gavi, Balde in: 4 most improved players under Xavi

It's almost a year since Xavi signed the contract to become Barcelona's head coach in the aftermath of Ronald Koeman's sacking.

Since then, there's been some marked improvement in the team and the performance of some players.

Here are the most improved Barca players since Xavi took over the reins at Camp Nou:

Alex Balde
This is looking like Alex Balde's best season since he emerged from La Masia - he has himself and Xavi to thank.

It's noticeable that the only game Barcelona have failed to win in the league this season is the one game Balde didn't start - against Rayo Vallecano.

The 18-year-old has repaid the faith placed on him by his manager with 3 assists in 5 league games. He also helped Barca keep 4 clean sheets iso far.

Xavi took to Gavi immediately after he became Barca manager after Koeman spotted the talent of the ingenious teenager.

Gavi has played over 50 Barca games under the watchful eye of Xavi since November and he only turned 18 last month

The midfielder has hardly put a foot wrong as confirmed by stats:

The graph by FBref shows Gavi is among the top 10% of midfielders in Europe in terms of touches in the box, dribbles completed, progressive passes, carries and pressures - he's still just 18

Ousmane Dembele
Dembele has definitely turned a corner since November and he can only be grateful to Xavi. The Barca gaffer stood by the Frenchman when the very mention of his name was loudly booed by the Camp Nou crowd.

Today, Dembele is Barca's best creative player in the last 9 months by some distance. He already has 4 assists in 8 games this season. That's a total of 17 assists in 40 games if you factor in his 13 assists last season.

Dembele is now back to his devastating best when it comes to assists and dribbling:

FBref graf shows Dembele is among the best 1% of forwards in terms of assists, progressive carries and dribbles.

The result is that Dembele has earned a recall to the France national team after a one-year absence.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Xavi did not throw Ter Stegen under the bus when he became head coach. That's despite the German goalie shipping in an average of a goal per game through 2021/22.

That narrative is beginning to change as we've seen this season. Ter Stegen is the goalie who has conceded the least number of goals in Europe's top 5 leagues after the first few games of the campaign.

With Manual Neur making some schoolboy errors that has left Bayern 5th in the Bundesliga, Ter Stegen could well unseat his German counterpart heading to the World Cup.
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