Athletic Bilbao 0-1 FC Barcelona: Match Review

August 24, 2015

“Starting the game, Barcelona were coming up against a familiar opponent. The Catalan club have already played Athletic twice this season thanks to the Supercopa and the wounds from that defeat are still fresh. Therefore you would expect a lively start from Barça as they look to seek revenge but the opening stages were all a bit tame. Athletic were smart about absorbing the early Barcelona pressure and neither side registered a shot on target during the opening minutes. The high press of the Basques succeeded in limiting Barcelona’s ability to create clear-cut chances.” Barca Blaugranes

La Liga preview: Can Real Madrid or Athletic Bilbao overtake Barcelona?

August 21, 2015

“On the face of it, the Spanish Super Cup suggested this season might be different. Barcelona, who won the treble of league, Copa del Rey and Champions League last season, was beaten 4–0 in the first leg by Athletic Bilbao and, back at the Camp Nou, managed only a 1–1 as it attempted the impossible task of overturning that deficit. Is Barça in crisis, could Athletic mount a serious challenge, is this the year when Spain becomes more than a two and a half horse race? Probably not.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

FC Barcelona Power Rankings: Week Two

August 19, 2015

“The timing of the Supercopa de España ensured that this week’s power rankings were pushed back a day to Tuesday, which means that we have a total of three competitive matches on which to rank the squad. Of course, there have been some ups and downs over the course of those 300 minutes of football, so this might get controversial… Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Barca Blaugranes

Tactical Analysis: Athletic Bilbao 4-0 Barcelona | Bilbao’s 4-4-2 and pressing exposes Barca’s vulnerabilities

August 17, 2015

“San Mames is a notoriously hard stadium to play in, as visiting teams often find themselves wavering in front of the intense Bilbo crowd and team during the 90 minutes of the game. Since the first sound of the whistle, Bilbao approached the game with a robust and intense style. Playing hard, aggressive and direct, the first 10-20 minutes of the game did not see Bilbao risk anything in the build up, but instead preferred to play longer towards the opposing half, in order to force the high-lines of Barcelona to drop deeper. This long balls approach worked as it forced Ter-Stegen out of the goal to head it away, leaving his goal completely exposed which was duly punished by what may turn out to be a contender for goal of the season. San Jose got to the 2nd ball and shot directly into the open goal from 40 yards out, resulting in a 1-0 lead for Bilbao after 15 minutes of the Super Copa Espana.” Outside of the Boot

Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 5-4 Sevilla | How Barca created space in the middle by playing out wide

August 17, 2015

“Last season treble winners Barcelona came up against Europa League champions Sevilla in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. For what was expected as a mouth – watering game by many, I’m sure they weren’t disappointed with the final outcome.” Outside of the Boot

La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1: Who will win titles?

August 14, 2015

“From managerial changes at some of the continent’s biggest clubs to long-running transfer sagas, it has been a hectic summer of activity across Europe. The season has already begun in France, Germany kick off their league campaign this weekend, while Spain and Italy start the following week. So what has changed? Who are the new faces to watch out for and, crucially, what does it all mean for the title races in Europe’s major leagues?” BBC

Is it time for Rafinha Alcantara to have his Barcelona moment?

August 14, 2015

“Following on from Rafinha Alcantara’s goalscoring performance in the Uefa Super Cup final, the 22- year-old will be hoping for and expecting more opportunities in the Barcelona starting 11 this coming season. The final was a feather in the cap of Rafinha as he started such a high profile, important game in a position that is usually taken up by the great Neymar. However, due to the extraordinary condition of mumps that the member of last season’s record breaking forward trio was diagnosed with, Rafinha was somewhat surprisingly called upon to take his place as a left sided attacker alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.” Outside of the Boot


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