Athletic Bilbao, 0 - FC. Barcelona, 0

Barça gifted the first 45 minutes to Athletic

OPINION

@PichiAlonso9

In the first fourty-five minutes at San Mames we saw a Barça well below the level expected of them. They were at the mercy of Athletic who created so many problems and forced four or five clear goal-scoring opportunities.

The balls over the top from Raul Garcia and using Williams as an outlet made it extremely difficult for Barça in the first 25 minutes. Sergi Roberto was also struggling to deal with Yuri's late runs down the left.

Barcelona were slow and couldn't find the spaces in which to attack Herrerin's goal. This allowed Athletic to defend and nullify any creativity in Barça's play. A half-fit Leo Messi was the only person capable of generating some sense of panic in the opposition's half.

The second half was much better; there was greater speed and intensity to the team's moves. They penned Athletic in but they still couldn't create goal-scoring opportunities. With 10 or 11 players back behind the ball, it wasn't going to be easy.

Athletic did improve when Muniain came on and they still created chances. Barcelona's best player was Marc-Andre ter Stegen who saved his side on more than one occasion. Without him, Barça could've left with nothing.

There was no outlet on the flanks and Jordi Alba's absence was felt.

It feels like the team is once again reaching an important part of the season and is underperforming. We hope that it's just a blip rather than an indicator of what's to come. The fixture list doesn't get any easier.

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