Athletic Club – Barcelona: Barcelona Squeak Out Another 1-0 Win (0-1)
Late mistakes from Xavi and his players nearly cost Barcelona the three points at San Mamés, though their embarrassments were spared by a favorable VAR call and some last ditch defending and goalkeeping. Though Athletic Club were the better side for the majority of the match, bright moments for Barcelona, and an excellent goal from Raphinha, were enough to slip by their opponents.
Tactical analysis and match report by Charlie Tuley
Athletic Club have been in a poor run of form lately, having failed to win their last three LaLiga matches as well as losing 1-0 to Osasuna in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals. Ernesto Valverde’s side are still struggling to find the back of the net, a theme that has become commonplace this season. Their scoring efforts would only be made more difficult with the absence of Oihan Sancet (suspended) as they welcomed league leaders Barcelona to San Mamés on Sunday night.
Athletic Club were also without the injured Unai Simón for the match, meaning youngster Julen Agirrezabala got the start in goal. Óscar De Marcos, Dani Vivian, Iñigo Martínez, and Mikel Balenziaga made up the back four with Mikel Vesga and Dani García making up the double pivot in midfield ahead of them. Nico Williams, Raúl García, and Álex Berenguer made up the more advanced line of midfielders, whilst Iñaki Williams led the line for the hosts.
Though their results have dipped a bit in recent weeks, Barcelona are still flying high in LaLiga. They have won eight of their last nine matches in league play, and a . . .