The appointment of club legend Xavi Hernandez as the new Barcelona manager last month changed the mood for the better and the team had threatened to go on an excellent run of positive results until the Real Betis game on Saturday.
The general consensus is that the quality of players at Barcelona are not good enough and reinforcements are needed to get the club back to the top of both Spanish and European football. Xavi has been able to lighten up the mood at Barcelona in comparison with what it was when Ronald Koeman was the manager, but the players are unchanged and the lack of quality was evident against the Manuel Pellegrini-led Betis side especially on the attacking front.
Barcelona toiled in front of the Betis goal for the majority of the Spanish La Liga duel and they were punished when ex-Stoke City and Malaga striker Juanmi scored eleven minutes from time to give Real Betis an impressive 1-0 win at the Nou Camp thereby moving into the top three on the league standings. Until the Betis game, Xavi has been unbeaten in his first three games as Barcelona manager including two wins from two games.
With the home defeat to Betis, Barcelona are now 16 points off arch rivals Real Madrid at the La Liga summit. Barcelona stay in seventh spot on the log with 23 points from 15 games. The Catalans are potentially facing a big battle to qualify for Champions League football next season as they are six points off defending champions Atletico Madrid in the fourth and final Champions spot for La Liga teams.
The Real Betis result does not represent ideal preparation for Barcelona ahead of a crucial Champions League week. They need to beat Champions League favourites Bayern Munich at their stadium to be sure of passage into the knockout stage with Benfica breathing down their neck in Group E. In their firstmeeting, Robert Lewandowski (2) and Thomas Mueller scored to give Bayern an emphatic 3-0 win at the Nou Camp.