Barcelona Fires Ronald Koeman – La Liga Title Odds Continue to Fluctuate

| October 29, 2021 9:50 am PDT
  • Barcelona fires Ronald Koeman following 1-0 defeat at Rayo Vallecano.
  • Dutchman departs 14 months after taking over, leaving Barca ninth in La Liga.
  • Club legend Xavi accepts offer to become new head coach.
  • Bookmakers view Barca as fifth favorite to win 2021-22 La Liga title.

Ronald Koeman’s disappointing spell as Barcelona manager finally came to an end on Wednesday following an inexcusable 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano.

With the club sitting ninth in the table – nine points behind first-place Real Sociedad – the Barca board was left with little choice but to part ways with the Dutchman.

Blaugrana icon Xavi Hernandez is set to be named as the new coach in the coming days. But with Barca now the bookies’ fifth favorite to win the 2021-22 La Liga, can he turn things around?

Latest 2021-22 La Liga Title Odds

Real Madrid1.67
Atletico Madrid4.20
Real Sociedad12.00
Real Betis76.00
Athletic Bilbao91.00

Given that Barcelona has won four of the last seven La Liga titles – and ten of the previous 17 – it may seem crazy that 10bet views the Catalan giant as the fifth favorite to lift the trophy this season.

But Koeman has left the club in a real mess.

Having taken just 15 points from a possible 30, Barca is already nine points off the pace in the title race. With eight teams ahead of them, the perennial winners need a miracle in order to make up lost ground.

Where Did it All Go Wrong for Koeman?

It is no secret that Barcelona is a club in turmoil behind the scenes.

Debts amounting to more than $1.5 billion have led to Barca’s demise on the pitch, with Lionel Messi leaving for Paris Saint-Germain after failing to agree a new contract.

Still, it’s fair to say that Koeman failed to get the best out of a talented group of players.

Despite being able to call upon superstars like Sergio Busquets, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong, Ansu Fati, and Pedri, Koeman was unable to get the desired results.

The Catalans won just four of their ten league games under Koeman this season, registering three draws and three losses in the process.

Let’s not forget that Barca also suffered 3-0 defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica in the UEFA Champions League earlier in the campaign.

At the end of the day, Barcelona expects greatness – and Koeman couldn’t achieve that.

Is Xavi the Right Man for the Job?

Just one day after Koeman’s sacking, Xavi accepted an offer to become Barcelona’s new head coach.

Although the deal has yet to be officially confirmed, it is believed that Xavi will be unveiled once an agreement is reached to terminate his contract as manager of Qatari side Al Sadd.

The 41-year-old has managed Al Sadd since 2019, learning his trade in Qatar. With all due respect, the Qatar Stars League is nowhere near the level of La Liga.

As a player, the legendary midfielder made 767 appearances for Barca – racking up 85 goals and 185 assists. He will now be expected to work his magic from the touchline.

It is difficult to gauge how Xavi will fare when he returns to Camp Nou. Sure, he has two years of managerial experience under his belt. But is he ready to manage one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

What’s Next for Barcelona?

The best Xavi can do right now is steady the ship.

Ultimately, Barca is in turmoil both on and off the pitch. If Xavi can take over and string together some positive results, he will alleviate at bit of tension – at least for the time being.

Although there is a lot of doubt surrounding the club at the moment, one thing is certain: Xavi will be given time to turn things around.

As a bona fide club legend, he won’t be fired anytime soon. He should get more leeway than his predecessor, but there is no hiding from the enormity of the task at hand.

Ben Morris
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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