A trip to San Mames is never easy, and Ernesto Valverde probably knows this best. The ex-coach of the Basques returned to his former love with Barcelona and was held to a draw by an inspiring performance of Athletic Bilbao in front of their fans. The Catalans just couldn’t find a cure for the compact defence the hosts deployed which resulted in no goals on the night.
Still, when your man of the match sits in-between the sticks, it is usually telling enough of what kind of a game you’ve had. Some Marc-Andre ter Stegen heroics and a lack of sharper finishing could imply that this was indeed a point gained rather than two lost for Barcelona.
This tactical analysis will use statistics to dissect the thriller to be that turned into a sleeper, and to determine just what transpired that lead to both teams sharing the spoils in Bilbao.
Starting XI: Ter Stegen – Sergi, Pique, Lenglet, Semedo – Rakitić, Busquets, Vidal – Messi, Suarez, Coutinho
Bench: Iñaki Peña, Murillo, Vermaelen, Aleña, Boateng, Malcom, Dembele
Coach: Ernesto Valverde
Athletic Bilbao (4-2-3-1)
Starting XI: Herrerín – De Marcos, Yeray, Martínez, Balenziaga – Beñat, Dani García – Susaeta, Raúl García, Yuri – Williams
Bench: Simón, Núñez, Ibai, Córdoba, San José, Muniain, Kodro
Coach: Gaizka Garitano
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