Few can criticise Xavi after seeing the way in which he has gotten Barcelona playing proper football once more, with results following suit, yet the former Al-Sadd coach saw his decision to rest key players against Galatasaray backfire in the form of a 0-0 draw.
Los Cules’ fixture list is a challenge due to the Europa League participation, and it made a degree of sense for Xavi to try and limit the physical demands on his players for the first-leg against Turkish opposition who have endured a truly underwhelming domestic season of their own.
He wanted to rest the players who have the highest cumulative workload, players like Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba. However, the way the match progressed forced him to introduce the players he had hoped he wouldn’t need.
Barcelona have two games that will condition the immediate future in both LaLiga Santander and the Europa League.
On paper, Barcelona should still be stronger than their Turkish opponents in the return leg, however there are a number of factors which could make that a tricky proposition.
Firstly, the infamous partisan support of the Istanbul club will make for a truly testing atmosphere, whilst the scheduling of the Clasico just three days later could force Xavi to play younger players in the bear-pit that is the Arena Seyrantepe.