Athletic Club – Barcelona: Battling Basques Bring Barcelona To A Halt (1-1)
A confident first step on the path to life after Lionel Messi gave Barcelona hope of quickly finding their feet in his absence. But Athletic Club refused to bow to the Catalans without a fight. Stifling the away team with their 4-4-2 diamond high pressing scheme, they emerged the better of the two outfits in a game that brought Barcelona back to the ground.
Tactical analysis and match report by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
Reaching three cup finals in 2021, Athletic Club looked to carry such form over into their league affairs: yet that would be easier said than done. A drab 0-0 draw away from home at Elche was a warning sign of familiar limitations in front of goal. But sides that take the game to them have proven far more fitting matchups. So could Marcelino's men kick the new season into life with an early scalp?
The wound of Lionel Messi's abrupt departure is still a fresh one for Barcelona, throwing the outlook of their season up in the air. Yet, the Catalans have not shied away from tackling the challenge that faces them. A 4-2 victory over Real Sociedad to kick off their new LaLiga campaign was an ideal start. Now they look to claim another three points and build on a solid first step from last weekend.
Koeman organized the away team in a 4-3-3 shape, while Marcelino set up the hosts in a 4-4-2 formation. Between the two managers, only one change appeared in the starting elevens. At the right back position for . . .