Xavi's new system for Barça liberates Raphinha, cages Lewandowski

Xavi's new system for Barça liberates Raphinha, cages Lewandowski

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Since Dembélé's injury and the change of system, the Brazilian has scored three goals and provided two assists.

The four-man midfield system has improved Barça's performance, but not all the players are feeling the same way. It has resulted in a significant change in the attack.

With a three-pronged attack, Lewandowski was scoring goals at will, but now he is finding it harder. Ousmane Dembélé's absence is likely impacting the Pole's performance, forcing Xavi Hernández to change the formation. On the other hand, the winger Raphinha has found a rich vein of form.

The Brazilian has scored thrice and assisted twice since playing as Lewandowski's partner in attack on the right flank, with the option of drifting into the number '9' territory.

Raphinha, Barça's leading provider

Barça have played this 4-4-2, with nuances, in four games: at Betis (1-2), at the Spotify Camp Nou against Sevilla (3-0), at La Cerámica against Villarreal (0-1) and in Europe hosting Manchester United (2-2).

Raphinha opened the scoring in the victory at the Villamarín, closed the scoring against Sampaoli's side and scored the crucial equalizer in the 2-2 draw against the Red Devils.

He has also provided two assists, to Gavi against Sevilla and to Marcos Alonso on Thursday from a pinpoint corner, to become the team's top goal provider. The Porto Alegre player has nine assists, two more than Dembélé (7) and three more than Jordi Alba and Robert Lewandowski(6).

Lewy better in a front three

Just as Raphinha feels more liberated at the front of the goal, Robert Lewandowski's defensive vigilance has effectively increased.

With the Dembélé-Lewy-Raphinha trident, the Pole had greater freedom of movement and the ability to pounce from tight spaces showcasing his tremendous eye for goal.

He has still been scoring, but his performance has undoubtedly dropped. With the new system, his contribution in the four games has been reduced to one goal, a good right-footed shot in Heliópolis and one assist, an exquisite pass to Pedri in Villarreal.

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