Xavi was surprised by Arsenal’s intensity in a pre-season friendly as Barcelona suffered a 5-3 defeat in the United States.
- Arsenal beat Barca 5-3
- Xavi complained about Arsenal’s intensity
- Admitted Barcelona still getting up to speed
WHAT HAPPENED? The Gunners eased to a comfortable victory over the Spanish champions courtesy of a brace from Leandro Trossard and goals from Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz and Fabio Vieira in what was their fourth and final game of their pre-season tour in America. Xavi noted that Arsenal’s level of play was comparable to a Champions League game, while Barcelona were still catching up physically, playing only their first game of the tour after their opening clash against Juventus was cancelled due to illness. He whined about the “intensity” and opined that it was “not normal for a friendly” in pre-season.
WHAT THEY SAID: “It has been a very good game for the show, not so much for the coaches. It has been back and forth. It has been noticed that they were much more shot than us. We have been tender in defence,” he told after the loss.
“I told him at the end of the game that it looked like a Champions League game because the intensity they put in was not normal for a friendly, but I understand that everyone wants to win. For us, it was the first game and we came from a virus,” he added.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Xavi also claimed that his side is struggling with a couple of injuries which forced Gavi and Clement Lenglet to remain on the sidelines. However, he found some positive aspects in Barcelona’s performance taking into account players’ fitness and recovery from illness.
“We could not count on Gavi and [Clement] Lenglet, with discomfort. People who have played with positions that are not their natural ones. We have seen positive things and others not so much. They were much more driven than us.
“Ours hasn’t surprised me, theirs has. So much intensity or so many tactical faults is not normal. We all want to compete, but this is a friendly. They are at a different pace of intensity. Positive things have been seen and I’m generally happy apart from the result, the conclusions are positive,” he stated.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Barcelona will continue their pre-season preparations, with two more games to come in the United States against Real Madrid and AC Milan. Meanwhile, Arsenal will return to England to wrap up their pre-season and prepare for the upcoming 2023-24 Premier League season, starting with a match against Nottingham Forest on August 12th. However, they will take on AS Monaco and Manchester City earlier in the Emirates Cup and FA Community Shield on August 2 and August 6 respectively.
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