FC Barcelona vs. Takeaways from the Athletics: Griezmann is invisible
Depay, De Jong step up

FC Barcelona vs. Takeaways from the Athletics: Griezmann is invisible Depay, De Jong step up

Barcelona won the match in convincing fashion. However, Barcelona lost Matchday 2. Bilbao won 1-1 against the Athletic Club. This was despite being the stronger team and unable to take advantage of many opportunities.

It was the main match of La Liga’s weekend slate, and Barcelona wasn’t going to be easy. Barca was beaten by Athletic in all four of their matches, which included the cup finals. Athletic played without fear. They were everywhere in Barcelona during the first half. Athletic eventually took the lead, but Memphis Depay’s magic led to a 15-minute equalizer.

It was eye-opening because the game exposed some Barcelona players as well as other weaknesses that Ronald Koeman should be aware of before the next match against Getafe. This wasn’t Athletic Club’s greatest team.

Griezmann, Braithwaite do not show up

Martin Braithwaite was only given one shot. His attacker Antoine Griezmann, a lone shot off-target that was not visible for most of the match and never posed any threat to his team, but he did work hard in tracking down midfielders. Depay, Griezmann, and Braithwaite were not able to connect and Barcelona was only awarded the scoreboard thanks to a single run by Depay.

Braithwaite’s amazing miss in the sixth minute could have changed the outcome of the match. The attackers were unable to capitalize on that chance. Outside Depay there wasn’t much in the way of dangerous runs and creative play from the front three. Yusuf Demir was a teenage debutant who played for Braithwaite in the last 30 minutes.

A Barcelona midfield struggled to control play was a major problem. However, it seemed better when Sergi Roberto took over for Pedri. He seems ready for his two week vacation following a hectic summer.

We didn’t play a good game. Griezmann stated that it cost them from the beginning. They put us under pressure. They pressured us well. We were slow than normal — these are things we can improve on and continue to do the same thing. This is a good point. It’s a point that we will accept and focus our attention on Getafe. We didn’t play a very good game.”

De Jong and Depay take a huge step forward

Gerard Pique is the club’s veteran, while Sergio Busquets (33 and 33 respectively) aren’t going to exert as much influence over matches now that they were. Frenkie and Depay were left with that responsibility on this occasion.

De Jong made plays at both ends. In the 74th, he hit the crossbar and in the 18th, he made an incredible sliding tackle. Although he had some giveaways, he was not afraid to continue the game that would lead to Barcelona’s goal.

Depay scored his first goal in Barcelona when the club needed someone to show their talent. He took a pass on the left, and placed the ball into the upper corner. This was an incredible goal. With four minutes remaining, he almost won on a diagonal shot that was just too wide.

They both showed they are capable of stepping up in a moment of pressure, which was one of the biggest moments in club history.

Which is Barcelona’s most impressive back line?

It may have been a good decision for Barcelona. Pique suffered a hip injury early in the match and had to be replaced by Ronald Araujo at the 30 minute mark. Araujo was a young athlete and saved Pique’s goal from an acrobatic clearance. Barcelona should have scored its first bicycle kick goal. It was ruled out for an alleged foul during the attack build-up.

Eric Garcia was the other center back in the starting lineup. He had a rough time, too, being beaten by Athletic’s centre back for their corner kick header goal. After hearing the sad news about his grandfather’s death, Garcia played in the match. It doesn’t matter if Garcia was in the right frame to participate in the match. He was consistently beaten in open-field, one-on-one matches by Athletic’s attackers, even on the stoppage-time foul. Koeman will have to play more with his backline next weekend due to the automatic red-card suspension.

Athletic also made sure to target fullbacks Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba when they were pushing up the field. Dest, as usual, was the most entrepreneurial, although he sometimes indulged in a few dribbling moves. They didn’t make a big contribution to Barcelona’s slow attack, and they failed to cross — one of the 10 combined crosses per SofaScore statistics.

A draw at Athletic Bilbao will look strong by the end of the season (Athletic suffered only three losses in its 19 home matches). It is unlikely that many teams can survive Athletic’s pressure and make it to the San Mames. However, it is important to remember that the new Barcelona of La Liga season 2 still has a lot to do.

Publiated at Sun 22 August 2021, 02:21:21 +0000

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