Xavi Hernandez
Xavi's Barcelona lost yet another El Clasico this season. AFP / LLUIS GENE

FC Barcelona recently lost 1-4 at the Supercopa de Espana (Spanish Super Cup) final against eternal rivals Real Madrid. Needless to say, losing a title match is bad enough in itself, but losing it badly against their biggest rivals has sent the Catalan giants into a tailspin.

The match was played in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia amid much fanfare from fans of both sides at the venue and around the world. It was utter humiliation for Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez and his players, especially after also losing the first La Liga El Clasico in the ongoing campaign.

It was clear during Sunday's final that the Barcelona players were not at the top of their game. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski provided a glittering goal, but it proved to be hardly a consolation in the end. The defence was in shambles, with the Real Madrid attack cutting through them like a hot knife through butter.

According to a report from Sport, fingers are being pointed inside the Barcelona dressing room. Unfortunately for goalkeeper Inaki Pena, he is allegedly being singled out by the manager for his poor form. Real Madrid's opening two goals are being seen as preventable, and Pena is being blamed for not being able to stop Brazilian ace Vinicius Junior from finding the back of the net twice in the opening ten minutes.

However, his performances have generally been good since taking over from injured number 1, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. He may simply be an unfortunate scapegoat at the moment, while the club is still smarting from the stinging defeat.

Xavi's neck may be on the line

Pena will likely be out of sight and out of mind when he returns to the bench once Ter Stegen recovers from his back injury. However, manager Xavi Hernandez won't have a similar smoke screen.

As is customary after every big defeat, speculations are once again swirling that Xavi's job may be on the line. He admitted that the Super Cup final was "the worst defeat of all", and it seems that club executives agree with him.

Apparently, Barcelona sporting director Deco is determined to replace the manager, and the rest of the board allegedly agrees with him.

However, Xavi still has the full backing of club president Joan Laporta, and that may save the 43-year-old from getting sacked for the time being. Despite the disappointment, Laporta reportedly believes in Xavi's long-term project for the club.

Either way, losing any final especially one against Los Blancos puts a lot of pressure on the Barcelona manager, regardless if the president supports him or not.

Big changes afoot this summer

The likes of Joao Cancelo, Joao Felix and Ilkay Gundogan arrived at the start of the season, with Ousmane Dembele, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets seeing the door. Unfortunately, the changes did not translate to positive results for the reigning La Liga champions, who are now sitting in fourth place in the table.

They are far from being out of contention though, meaning Xavi may still be able to end the season on a high. Barcelona are only eight points behind leaders Giron, a margin that is hardly insurmountable with half the season still left to play.

Apart from the tight La Liga battle, Barcelona are through to the knockout stages of both the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. They have reached the last-16 in both competitions, and winning one of those titles will surely give Xavi a new lease in life with the Blaugrana.

Despite any dip in form, Barcelona could never be written off early. Last season, they managed to win La Liga despite being neck deep in a financial crisis and being embroiled in a number of scandals and controversies. Indeed, it remains to be seen if the results on the pitch can continue to overshadow all the chaos behind the scenes.