After a convincing victory in the first game of the post-Messi era, Barcelona returned to the game in the second round and was fortunate to drew 1-1 with Bilbao against a better team. Athletic club, but fortunately escaped unable to take advantage of a large number of opportunities.
This is the main matchup of the La Liga weekend roster, and Barcelona will never have an easy time. Last season, Athletic gave Barcelona a difficult time in four games, including their separate two cup finals. The home team played without fear: in the first half, Barcelona’s physical players were all over Barcelona, forcing multiple turnovers and creating opportunities, and they didn’t get tired until late in the second half. With 15 minutes left in the game, Memphis Depay’s magic show finally equalized the score.
This game was instructive because it exposed a few Barcelona players and other weaknesses, which should give manager Ronald Koeman enough thinking before the club’s next game against Getafe. This is not even the best team in a sports club:
This is an absolutely incredible performance of Athletic Club. They do not have their first choice left back, right back, center back and goalkeeper. They overwhelmed Barcelona.
— Phil Kitro Millides (@PhilKitro) August 21, 2021
Griezman and Braithwaite failed to show up
At least Martin Braithwaite has a chance. His teammate Antoine Griezmann didn’t show up throughout the game (a single missed shot) and never posed a threat, even though he struggled to recover to help the midfielder. Nevertheless, the first trio of Braithwaite, Griezmann and Depay is rarely linked, and only Depay’s solo fight allowed Barcelona to sit on the board of directors.
Braithwaite’s incredible turnover after six minutes may change the course of the game. But despite this opportunity, the attackers still have many shortcomings: outside of Depay, the top three do not have much dangerous running or creative offense. This includes teenage rookie Yousford Mill, who played for Braithwaite in the final 30 minutes.
Their career has not been helped by a Barcelona midfielder struggling to dominate the game, and although Sergi Roberto looks better in place of Pedri, Pedri seems ready to spend two weeks after a busy summer. s vacation.
“We didn’t play a great game. It cost us from the beginning,” Griezmann said. “They pressured very well. We were a bit slower than usual-we need to improve and continue to work like us. This is an important point. We will accept it and we will focus on Getafe. But we don’t have a great game. .”
De Jong and Depay march forward
Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets are club veterans, but at their age (34 and 33 years old respectively), they will not have a major impact on the game as they did before. This day is left to Depay and Frenkie de Jong.
De Jong is on both ends of the offense and defense. He hit the crossbar in the 74th inning and made a sensational tackle in the 18th inning. He had his giveaway, but he did not flinch in a difficult game, he started the game that led to Barcelona’s goal.
When Barcelona needed a player to play his talents, Depay scored his first goal for the club. He passed the ball on the left and then placed the ball in the top corner. This is a sensational strike. With four minutes left in the game, he almost won the game with a wide diagonal shot.
In one of the most stressful moments in the club’s recent history, both of them showed that they have personalities to defend themselves.
What is the best defense for Barcelona?
In the end, for Barcelona, Pique suffered an early hip injury and was forced to leave the game, and was replaced by Ronald Araujo 30 minutes later. Araujo’s youthful athleticism is very necessary; the Uruguayan saved a goal in an acrobatic clearance, and it can be said that he should have scored Barcelona’s first goal in a bicycle kick. (It was deleted due to suspected foul in the offensive organization.)
Pique has been replaced six times in the last 13 Barcelona starts, saying @OptaJose, This is a bit worrying.
-Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 21, 2021
Another starting center back, Eric Garcia, performed equally rough, being injured by Athletic’s center back when he took a header from a corner kick. But Garcia also participated in the competition after learning the news of his grandfather’s death. Regardless of whether he has the mentality to participate in the game, the bottom line is that he is often beaten by attackers from the competitive team in one-on-one empty matches, including red card fouls in stoppage time. The automatic red card suspension will force Koeman to try more defensive lines next weekend.
Eric García found out that his grandmother had died a few minutes before kick-off. He is a 20-year-old and this is his second appearance for Barcelona.
Of course, this will not be the best game of his career, but some people need to make him lay off a bit.
-Sam Leveridge (@samleveridge) August 21, 2021
The full backs-Sergino Durst on the right and Jody Alba on the left-also become competitive targets every time they come on the court. As usual, Durst is the most aggressive, even though he is often obsessed with dribbling. But none of them made a significant contribution to Barcelona’s offensive sluggishness, and their crosses were also lacking-according to SofaScore’s statistics, they hit one of 10 combined crosses.
By the end of the season, Athletic Bilbao’s draw should look like a strong result (Athletic lost only 3 of 19 home games last season). Not many teams have the ability to enter San Mamés and survive the pressure exerted by the competitive team. But this does not eliminate the fact that the new look of Barcelona is still going on in the two games into the La Liga season.