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Sep 29, 2018


AAll eyes will be on Barca to see how they respond to the surprising defeat at the hands of Leganes. Will Athletic Bilbao pay for Barca's defeat or will Bilbao will make us suffer more?


Lionel Messi scoring against Athletic Bilbao #lionelmess #messi #barcelona #barca #fcbarcelona

While previewing the matches for September, I have remarked why the match against Athletic Bilbao was one of the toughest and the Leganes and Girona was a cake walk. Now those tow samll teams have made sure that my prediction surely made a fool out of me. Against Girona and leganes we have one point to show; and now we enter into a crunch match against Athletic where failure cannot be an option.


Athletic despite their good result against Real Madrid a couple of weeks back, are in the midst of a horrible run of form. They haven't managed to win in last four games and that makes them the ideal opponent for Barca to forget the defeat against Leganes.




Despite Opposition's Bad Form, Barca needs to guard against Complacency


To say that we could be complacent in this match should amount to blasphemy! But still there is a high chance of it. That's because of Athletic's recent struggles and to lose 3-0 to Villareal at their own home; testifies their current situation. May be I am actually discounting the good performances put up by Villareal. We may only get to judge that when they play us; hopefully we are able to manage that.


As far as Barcelona is concerned, the equation is plan and simple - win this match by all means. If we fail to do so, that may reflect in the mid-week Champions League away match against Tottenham. Also there is another advantage thrown in the mix, the two sides from Madrid will be playing against each other later in the night. So a victory could see us gaining some ground over our main oppositions.


How Should Valverde Line-Up against Athletic?


Every failure should be consider as the perfect opportunity to correct course. And this is a the perfect time for that too. Like I have written in my last post, it's time we revisit on the formation we use to utilize our players. Considering that we may need to rest the likes of Coutinho and may be Rakitic. Valverde announced a 19 man squad list Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Coutinho, Arthur, Suárez, Messi, O. Dembélé, Rafinha, Cillessen, Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Munir, S. Roberto, Vidal and Vermaelen. The notable omissions are Umtiti, who is out injured and Malcom who actually should have added into the mix.


The absence of Umtiti means we will see Lenglet partnering Pique in the middle. But I would prefer using Vermaelen as Pique needs to be rested immediately. Alba and Roberto should return as full backs. In the midfield I would like a double pivot of Busquets and Vidal; it's a bit defensive but we need that especially if we are using a Vermaelen-Lenglet center back partnership.


Coutinho would be one of the most important players for our visit to Wembley, so i would rest him for this match. In front of the double pivot I would have Rakitic and to his wings I will have both Demebele and Messi. Having been rested for the last match, Saurez naturally returns as the center-forward.


Despite the recent results we should be able to manage this match. But apart from the result, everyone will be observing how we react in this match. That matters the most in the long run.

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