FC Barcelona were at the top of La Liga table but due to a draw in Sevilla, Madrid advanced to the top with level on points ahead on goal difference. The performance in Seville was slightly underwhelming as the cules failed to break down the home side. The midfield selection by Quique Setien was somewhat static and no introduction of pace in the wings as Ansu Fati was benched was another reason for the draw.
The game against Athletic Bilbao is a must win for Barca to keep them alive in the title race, they can’t afford to lose points in this game.
Quique Setien has called up a 24-man squad for the game against Bilbao. Frenkie De Jong, Sergi Roberto, and Dembele are out with injury. B-Team players like Puig, Monchu, Cuenca, Araujo, Morer have also been called up.
Barcelona need more intensity in the midfield to press and break down the opposition. In addition, Griezmann on the wings does not really work, the introduction of Ansu Fati or Alex Collado would provide a great threat from either side of the wings. Defensively, Lenglet and Pique should start and Araujo must get more minutes, his display against Mallorca was pretty impressive.
It would be interesting to see what midfield Setien starts with since De Jong is out, and there’s the Juve transfer speculation surrounding Arthur, who has time and again said that he doesn’t want to leave. The manager must have learned the lesson that Vidal, Rakitic, and Bousquets won’t really work. Starting Riqui Puig as an attacking midfielder would really provide the intensity which is currently lacking in the games Barca has played so far.
FC Barcelona : Ter Stegen, Alba, Lenglet, Pique, Semedo, Bousquets, Vidal, Arthur, Messi Suarez, Fati
Athletic Bilbao : Simon; Capa, Nunez, Martinez, Balenziaga; D Garcia, Vesga; Cordoba, Muniain, Williams; R Garcia
Sevilla 0-0 Barcelona
Barcelona 2–0 Leganés
Mallorca 0–4 Barcelona
Barcelona 1–0 Real Sociedad
Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Real Betis
Eibar 2-2 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Real Valladolid 1-4 Athletic Bilbao
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