Welcome back to TalkBarca. Our topic for today is Barcelona vs Athletic Club Match Preview. We are going to play our 4th match after football is resumed. We have our second home game coming tomorrow out of these four fixtures. Barcelona is hosting Athletic Club, and that is surely going to be a really difficult fixture. We are going to talk about the Athletic club in while. It is important to talk about Barcelona first. You know it, I know it, and everyone at FC Barcelona knows about it. We are no longer on the top of the table. Barcelona is now 2nd.
We don’t have many margins of error now. I think La Liga is pretty much out of hands, but still, there is time. We have a handful of games left, and so does Real. If we can slip, so can Real. However, we do not have to sit there waiting for them to make mistakes. We have to keep focusing on ourselves. We have to make sure that we play with even more venom now, and do not repeat the mistakes we already made. It is time that we put maximum focus into winning each game, let alone La Liga.
We cannot just think of winning the trophy right now. Instead, we have to take every individual game seriously. We just have to think every game as a final or a knockout game and play it like a must-win. Only then we can think about somehow winning the trophy. Times were already hard at FC Barcelona, and they are going to be harder now. We have to act like Champions before we become one. We have to keep our heads up and take every challenge positively. I still believe in my club. I hope not to get disappointed.
BARCELONA VS ATHLETIC CLUB KICKOFF TIMINGS
Kickoff timings for this game are also 10pm local time. This is the same time for the previous 3 games we played as well. We stay up all night to support our team. We wait for days, and days to watch them play. However, if they do not perform, it breaks our hearts. We are always so passionate and so concerned about whatever is happening in the team. We always pray that our team performs well. However, if we do not see what we expect, it disappoints us. This especially applies to Asian Fans.
BARCELONA VS ATHLETIC CLUB
Athletic is on the 9th on the points table. However, their recent form is so good. Athletics is dominating every team, and they are fighting very hard to finish as high as they can. Real is the top club which has the best form in the previous 5 games. Are you expecting Barcelona to be on the 2nd? Yes, you do, but you are wrong. It is the Athletic Club. Athletic has won 3 out of their last 5 games and has drawn 2 games. They picked up 11 points in the previous 5 games.
On the other hand, Barcelona won 3, drew 1, and lost 1 as well. This shows that Athletic Club is not going to be easy for us to handle. They are in good form. They have a good record against us as well, and we are vulnerable. This makes this fixture even more difficult. Home and away games don’t matter much now. It is all about football quality, and the will. Therefore, we must be ready for what is coming at us. I already talked about this that we have a bundle of difficult fixtures coming up.
Athletic is just one of those. Now guess what? Let’s take a look at Barcelona vs Athletic Club head to head. It might come as a shock to you, but Barcelona has not managed to beat Athletic Club in their last four meetings. Our last meeting came in February which resulted in defeat. I would also like to mention that this defeat was under Quique Setien. We also failed to beat them earlier on in our season. This shows that Barcelona is struggling to play against Athletic. We have a huge challenge coming at us in the face of the Athletic Club. Be prepared!
Roberto and De jong is injured. Both of them are going to be out for a few weeks, and Barcelona has to find suitable alternatives especially for De Jong. Furthermore, Luis Suarez, Vidal, Lenglet, and Firpo are just one booking away from suspension. Therefore, Quique Setien has to come up with the right choices in this game.
Ter Stegen is going to start with the goal. He had a great game against Sevilla and was surely one of the best players on the pitch. There is always not so much to talk about Ter Stegen. He is consistent, and he gets the job done. What else do you demand from your goalkeeper?
Gerrard Pique and Lenglet are going to start as the CB duo. Jordi Alba is going to start as the Left Back and Semedo is going to start as the Right Back. Semedo delivered a world-class performance in the previous game. I hope he can do the same not only in this upcoming fixture but also in every game he plays for us. This guy surely has a lot of spark in him and can be a huge asset for us. I hope he plays well.
Gerrard is also showing some real positivity in his game lately. Pique looked slow, and rusty before the lockdown. However, he looks better now. He is also delivering consistent good performances. This is why we call him our president. He is always there for us. It is his age as well which is preventing him to not play like his glory days.
Otherwise, we know that Pique is a fighter and a true warrior. Pique plays his heart out for the badge. I hope every player had a similar passion to that of Pique. No player can ever take his place.
I expect a similar midfield lineup to start in the midfield. I think Rakitic, Busquests, and Vidal was working for us in the midfield. Rakitic was good in the previous game. He showed great positivity and real improvements in his game. Rakitic was eager to attack and move the ball forward. His attitude is also really positive and he is making an image that he intends to stay and also play for FC Barcelona. I think this is the kind of attitude we need from all of our players.
If our players want to play, they must show it with their game. On the other hand, Sergio Busquests was quite good as well. I mentioned his 6-7 interceptions (in Sevilla Match Review) in the early stages of the first half in the previous game. This demonstrated his extreme focus in the game. Sergio is also likely to start now because De Jong is out. Both of there playing styles were considered to be similar. Therefore, we do not have any suitable substitute to play in place of Sergio Busquests. Therefore, I think Quique is going to go with him.
However, there are doubts about Vidal. I mentioned he is one booking away from being suspended for the next fixture. We have many difficult games coming up so we cannot afford to get him suspended. So there are two possibilities over here. Either Vidal is going to start, and get subbed off in the second half. Either Arthur is going to start, or Vidal comes in the second half. These two scenarios are the most likely to happen.
We might even see more of Puig, and see him playing the entire half. However, this is unlikely to happen, and I think it is going to be difficult to implement.
Wingers and Striker
I expect Suarez to start in the number 9 position. Lionel is going to play as well. Ansu Fati is the most likely contender to start on the Left Wing. However, we may even see Braithwaite. Griezmann can come in later in the second half as well. There is a competition between Griezmann and Braithwaite. Therefore, both of these players must work hard to prove themselves. Otherwise, I see one of these players leaving in the upcoming transfer market. Barcelona currently needs money, and they are not going to wait for players to perform gradually.
This is going to be a really difficult encounter. However, you know that I am going to keep thinking positive about my team. I say that Barcelona is going to win 1-0 o 2-0. I expect our defense to stay strong once again. Ter Stegen is going to keep yet another clean sheet. Furthermore, I have positive hopes from Messi as well. He is one goal away from completing his 700 career goals. I think goal number 700 is coming. We are struggling against Athletic Club, but we have to forget previous fixtures and focus on this.
Stay tuned for more Match Previews, Reviews, and other news related to FC Barcelona.
Until the next time, Visca El Barca!