Welcome back to TalkBarca. Our topic for today is the Match Review of Barcelona vs Athletic Club. We are done with our 4th fixture after La Liga resumed. Barcelona has somehow won this game 1-0, and we got all the 3 points we needed. It was going 0-0 until the 70th minute until Rakitic stepped up for us. There is not too much to talk about this game. However, there are a few points worth discussing. I am really happy with the result. We got the maximum points, and once again we are at the top of the table.
However, Real Madrid is going to face Real Mallorca tomorrow (25th June). They have a complicated game as well, and there are chances that they might draw it. However, most probably Real is going to win their fixture considering their incredible form. Therefore, they are going to eventually get the 2 points lead again. We know that we desperately need Real to drop points if we want to regain our La Liga winning chances. However, our prime focus must be to win every game, and not think about the title right now. It’s all about priorities right now.
Barcelona struggled to attack, and it was pretty evident. The trio of Antoine, Suarez, and Messi is not clicking. I am going to talk about that later in this article. Furthermore, we saw some major positivity in our midfield. I am leaving this topic for later as well. I still think that Quique did not get this game right just like a few previous ones. I have a bit of doubt, and complaints with the starting lineup as well. However, it ended well. I want my team to regain its confidence. However, the major priority is to win every game.
BARCELONA VS ATHLETIC CLUB MATCH REVIEW
Let’s just talk about a few facts before I proceed to the Lineup and Best performers. Barcelona certainly did not drop any master-class or some special performance. However, we did get the 3 points, and this is what matters the most at the moment. Barcelona did keep another clean sheet. This means a lot when considering regaining the confidence for our players. It is also a great achievement for our defenders. However, this is going to majorly boost the confidence of Ter Stegen. Ter Stegen is a hero, and he deserves these individual records.
Ter Stegen started in goal. I mentioned above that he did end up with another clean sheet. Overall, he was quite good as well. Athletic was certainly not going easy on us. Athletic had us on a few moments, but Ter Stegen stayed firm like he always does. Furthermore, he is a leader who always keeps checking on his players. Stegen is always calling out players who are out of their position. He is always alerting our players if any player from the opposition is unmarked. He is no less than a blessing for our team.
Gerrard Pique and Lenglet started as the Center Backs. Both of them had a decent game. Their duo seems to be clicking now, unlike before the lockdown happened. I think both of them are taking their game, and the current situation of the club seriously. This is the kind of attitude you expect your loyal players to have. I do not think Pique needs any explanation when it comes to proving loyalty for the badge. I think Pique does not have a lot of game left in him. However, he makes sure he is here for us.
Similarly, Lenglet has imposed himself as the starting center back. It is almost confirmed to us that Lenglet is going to start alongside Pique. I think Lenglet worked hard to get this spot. Otherwise, Umtiti had a lot of hype when he came in. I think Lenglet is just like Sergio Busquests. He works a lot for the team and often does not get enough credit. He is an unsung hero for our team. He deserves the praises and compliments which other players get. I hope he keeps getting better and stays loyal to us. We need him to shine.
Furthermore, Jordi Alba and Semedo started as Left Back and Right Back respectively. I think both of them were pretty good as well. However, the Match Review of today is all about our young talent, trust me. You are going to know what I mean by this. Perhaps you already know what I want to say. This game was all in all a master class from the young talent of the club. Therefore, I would like to appreciate Semedo. I do appreciate him quite often, but I think that all the appreciations for him are deserving, and he earns them.
Arthur Melo, Sergio Busquests, and Vidal started in the midfield. Honestly, I am not pleased with these choices. I think Rakitic should have started the game. However, let’s just say that Quique had his reasons. Maybe Arthur is leaving (Stay tuned for that article), therefore Quique wanted to use him more. He may have some other reasons. However, Arthur did not impress at all. He was certainly not as good as he used to be, and I do not know why this is happening to him . I think Arthur is definitely, doubting himself. He is perhaps sad about leaving.
However, he needs to make sure he leaves a positive mark. He needs to please the fans so that they miss him. He does not have to play poorly so that the fans say that they wish he leaves. These kinds of comments are going to hurt him and downgrade his confidence even more. However, this is the life of a football player. With all the money and luxuries comes all the criticism as well. The life of a footballer is like, one day you are considered the best in the team, and the next day you are on the bench.
Sergio Busquests was good as well. He made a really important clearance/interception for us. That moment was a huge lifesaver for us. I think he was present at the right place at the right time. Otherwise, the results would be different right now. Furthermore, Rakitic and Ansu Fati came in later on in the game. That completely changed the game for me. I think the substitution of Puig, Rakitic, and Fati was the best choice Quique has made in a long time. These three players completely changed the game for us. I’ll discuss them in a while.
Wingers and Striker:
Antoine Griezmann started as the Left-winger. Messi started as the Right-winger. Suarez started as number 9. Well, well, it did not work for us. I mentioned this above and this is now time to discuss it. I do not think that this trio worked for us. Maybe it should be Braithwaite to start or Ansu. I wanted Ansu to start in the first place. However, Quique had his plans and decided the lineup accordingly. His choices did not work, and I even think that he was a bit harsh to Antoine Griezmann.
I think Grizzy was having a pretty good game before he was subbed off. He looked more active, and he was trying his best to work as hard for the team as he can. What else do you demand from a player who is struggling with confidence? I think Griezmann deserved a pat on the back for making such efforts. However, he was subbed off undeserving. Suarez looked sluggish in this fixture, and he was taken off after Griezmann. This was not the right thing to do. Suarez was taken off 20 minutes after Griezmann and that was unfair.
Griezmann is already struggling with confidence, and you are helping him by treating him unfairly? What is up with Quique Setien? I am not saying Grizyy deserved full 90 minutes. He only deserved more playing time than Suarez because he was playing better. However, Ansu Fati came in on the 65th minute for Griezmann, and Braith came for Suarez on 85th minute. Ansu was a treat to watch. This kid always surprises me with his creativity. Braithwaite was ok too. Lionel Messi got another assist. However, we are still waiting to see him scoring his 700th career goal. Maybe next game.
BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES
It’s time we get some new players other than Ter Stegen and Lionel Messi in this category, isn’t it?
Was Rakitic not world-class? He was. Raki is getting better day by day. He was extremely good. He is certainly more attack-minded now, and this is exactly what we need from him. Rakitic moves swiftly within the midfield, and his awareness always seems to be on point. Furthermore, he is always linking up fine with his attackers up front. We know that Ivan Rakitic does have that ability to move up, and also score. Guess what?
He did score. We know that Raki is good in front of the goal. He always has a goal in him, and he showed it to us. The man of the game is Ivan Rakitic. We got the 3 points solely because of his only goal. I am happy for him.
Oh boy, do not get me started on this wonder kid. What on earth is this guy? I mean how can you be this good? You are a kid after all. Well, a kid when it comes to age, but a boss when it comes to running errands in the midfield. Puig was so good, and it seemed that he was one of the most senior players around. He was making killer passes in spaces within 2-3 players. He just puts in the life in our midfield. We need someone like him to always move here and there. His movements are unpredictable. He is really hard to read, and he is always aware of every player around. He is hands down one of the best Barca products ever.
Ansu Fati surprised me as well. He is so confident, and he is always playing so easily. I think he is one of the best attackers in our current squad. He combines so well with Messi and other players. He is never afraid to take players one on one. The best thing is that he is mostly successful as well in one v one situations. He is definitely, one of our best products. I see that it is going to be hard to replace Ansu as a starter for Antoine and Braith soon. I hope he keeps playing like this. I want to see more from him.
I think it is time that we let the coming generation, and new talent carry us. It is not because our older players are not capable anymore to do that. It is just because our younger players are proving that they can do that better. Ansu is already being considered as one of the best performing wingers in La Liga.
I think it was a lucky day for us. We somehow got a goal which led us to the 3 points. It was pretty much looking like a draw until Rakitic converted a chance from Lionel Messi. I am happy with the result, but still worried about our struggling form. Furthermore, I think it is time Quique Setien considers Ansu Fati, Rakitic, and Puig as starters. This is how you are going to bring the best in him. The best way to reward these players is to use them in the starting lineup for the next time. This is going to boost their confidence, and motivate other players as well.
Anyway guys this is it from our side. I hope you like the content for Barcelona vs Athletic Club Match Review. For more Match Previews, Reviews, and other news related to Barcelona, stay tuned to our blog.
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