Welcome to TalkBarca. Our topic for today is the Match Review of Athletic Bilbao vs FC Barcelona. So, the match is finished, and so is our story in the Copa Del Rey tournament. Both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona got knocked out of the Copa Del Rey 2019/20 on the same day. At one point, we had a feeling as fans that since Real Madrid is knocked out before our game, it is going to mentally ease our players. We thought that now the CDR is ours. However, Barcelona still found ways to disappoint us. Why are we like this? Why can’t we win with consistency?
There is a lot to talk about this game. Missed chances played their part, whereas some people are blaming the referees for giving wrong decisions. I am not one of them. For me, our team played poor and we deserved to be kicked out of the tournament. We are so focused on passing that we forget to initiate regular counter-attacks and trouble opposition defense. This is not our style of play. Our playing style involved regular attacking with keeping possession. As a matter of fact, we are in no shape to win any title at the moment.
What did we do with all that possession? Nothing! Athletic Bilbao kept us on our toes since the first minute of our game. Meanwhile, we never looked threatening enough. We did manage to create 1 or 2 good chances, but, they were either wasted or denied by the keeper. We are in no shape to dominate the league or the CL. I no longer want to keep any expectations from my team, let alone wanting them to win every trophy from now on. We were in no shape to handle Bilbao. They were tough and truly the deserving winners.
ATHLETIC BILBAO VS BARCELONA MATCH REVIEW
Before I begin with the lineup, I would like to address an existing issue within our squad. Yes, we disappointed, that is true. However, we are also lacking options within our squad. We don’t have enough rotations. We don’t have a proper number 9. Yes, Griezmann is there, but, he is not yet in the best of his form. Messi is nowhere as his usual. He seems to be more interested in fighting others than performing on the pitch. At this rate, we are going to end up nowhere. Our attitude is simply not right.
All we care about is keeping possession and doing nothing with it at the end. What is the purpose of keeping the ball if we cannot capitalize on the chances? Our big names are nowhere on the pitch? These are the games in which we need our players to step up. Yet, we saw positivity from no player. Yes, the referee is one hell of a jerk as well. Frenkie De Jong was clearly pushed inside the box and that was a clear-cut penalty. Yet, it was not given, and we just stood there appealing and shouting. This is not the end.
There is even more bad news. Gerrard Pique is now out injured. It’s not that he was really productive for us. Still, now, we have to see Umtiti starting the games. Talk about disappointments after disappointments? This game really missed Vidal. Vidal was not 100% fit for the game and we desperately missed him. I don’t know about any other opinions, but I really felt that he was needed here. We needed his aggression and his pressing ability. He could have provided life into the attack as well as the midfield. We need him back as soon as possible. Let’s take a look at the starting lineup.
We are not going to talk about every position individually because there was nothing special about anyone. Ter Stegen started in goal. He played decently, and he is not the player you expect to see making mistakes frequently. Sometimes, I feel that he is unlucky to be in this squad. Which keeper would want to play with a defense of such poor quality? We played with 4 defenders. Our backline consisted of Jordi Alba, Lenglet, Pique, and Semedo. Jordi Alba was often a part of the midfield as well.
Lenglet kept moving forward and I think he did deliver a better performance today. He was one of our good performers today. Pique was not really effective and he also got injured. Umtiti replaced him. Our entire focus was on keeping possession, and this is a good habit. However, this habit is harming us. Yes, keeping possession is our style of play. We need to adapt this and we need to stick to it. However, we are not adapting to it in the right way. We need to attack often.
Our midfield consisted of De Jong, Rakitic, Roberto and Sergio Busquests. Arthur Melo replaced Rakitic, and honestly, I did not see any effective play from the midfield. Our midfield was exceptional in keeping the ball, but, couldn’t use the possession to our advantage. Bilbao was really physical against us, and our players did not find any way to cope up with it. Bilbao was in a complete fighting mood and they had done their homework right. Our attackers did not create any impact on the opposing defenders. Griezmann missed a really easy chance and Messi was also denied a good effort on goal by the goalkeeper.
SQUAD ROTATION ISSUES
Before we proceed to the end of the article, I would also like to discuss the issue of limited options in our squad. We do not have enough options at any position. If you take a close look, Fati started the game. Ansu Fati started so that Griezmann can be rested. Then Griezmann came in the second half so that Fati can be rested. Messi played the entire game, although we know that he desperately needs a rest. The same is the case with our defense. Pique is now out.
Umtiti is going to replace Pique. However, we also know that Umtiti is not a reliable option considering his proneness to injuries. There is also another issue. If we do not choose Umtiti, who else do we have? This is the exact issue in our club. We don’t have much seniority in our squad. We expect too much from Messi. He is turning old and he cannot win us every game now. Ansu Fati is not yet at that experience level on which we can depend on him for every game.
This is why we need to make signings. We are lacking players. We sold a few players which I think was the wrong decision. Games like these make me want to rethink how much desperately do we need to buy players in the summer. Let’s hope that our players can perform to the level we want them to and at least give us one trophy in this season.
I admit that I was a little too harsh on my team today. It’s just because of my frustration as a fan and I think I fully lashed it out on my players. Deep down, we all know that I still love my team, and I will keep supporting my boys at every stage. Anyways, guys, this is it from the Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Match Review. For more Match Previews, Reviews, and other interesting stuff related to FC Barcelona, make sure to stay tuned to our website. I hope that we can return to winning ways again as soon as possible. We want Quique Setien to deliver the performances we have expected from him. Let us know your thoughts about this Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona encounter in the comments section. Until the next time guys, Visca El Barca!