Reigning La Liga champions Barcelona got back to winning ways in the league after a narrow 1-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao. In what was a tightly contested affair right from the off, the Barcelona attackers failed to display any degree of fluency or composure in the final third, with even Lionel Messi struggling to put two passes together for large parts of the match. The Argentine magician did end up assisting the winner tonight though, as it was his effort that played Ivan Rakitic through for the only goal of the fixture.
Here Are The Barcelona Player Ratings Vs Athletic Bilbao:
Barcelona Player Ratings Vs Athletic Bilbao
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen – 6.5
The shot-stopper had some nervy moments in the early knockings but grew in confidence as the game progressed. He was helped by the fact that Athletic didn’t manage a single shot on target.
Nelson Semedo – 7.5
The Portuguese full-back put in a solid defensive shift down his flank tonight, as he didn’t allow the dangerous Williams too much running room. Got forward and overlapped whenever possible too.
Gerard Pique – 7
The Spanish veteran did well to maintain his position in some high-pressure situations throughout the fixture but was largely untroubled. Won most aerial balls that were played into the box.
Clement Lenglet – 7
The centre-half was a dominant figure at the back for Quique Setien’s side, as he was usually the one that started any Barcelona attacks. Showed good composure when in possession of the ball.
Jordi Alba – 6.5
The speedster didn’t have the impact he might’ve been hoping for down the flank, as the deep-lying Athletic defence didn’t allow too much running room until the first Barcelona goal went in late on.
Arturo Vidal – 6.5
The Chilean midfielder did a decent enough job in the middle of the park with some good forward passing and defensive cover. Had an excellent opportunity to score right before Rakitic found the net.
Sergio Busquets – 6.5
Like his partners in the core of the team, the Spaniard struggled to gain control over the midfield area owing to the competitive nature of the fixture. Didn’t have his usual telling influence.
Arthur – 6.5
The midfielder looked shabby on the ball at times tonight, and this was recognised by Setien quite early into the second half. Was replaced by the dynamic and more energetic presence of Riqui Puig.
Lionel Messi – 7
The Argentine star played a flurry of loose passes in that match, which undoubtedly affected his overall rating for the fixture. Displayed one moment of brilliance to set up Rakitic for the opener though.
Luis Suarez – 6.5
The Uruguayan had one of his quieter nights in Catalonia tonight but came alive after the Barcelona opener. Made some dangerous forward runs but wasn’t given a proper chance at goal.
Antoine Griezmann – 6
The Frenchman, like his last couple of appearances, struggled to get a grip over the pace of the game. Looks to be severely lacking in match-sharpness and does need to improve considerably.
Ricard ‘Riqui’ Puig – 7.5
The starlet was nothing short of a sensation after coming onto the pitch, as he seemed to be at the end of every pass that Bilbao tried. Made some good interceptions and looked sharp all around.
Ivan Rakitic – 7
The Croatian did well to control the tempo of the game in midfield after coming on. Won the ball back before playing a brilliant one-two with Messi to break the deadlock in the second period.
Ansu Fati – 6.5
The youngster came on and immediately injected a bit of liveliness to the Barcelona front-line. Not everything he tried came off but put in the effort when in the final third of the pitch.
Martin Braithwaite – NA
Didn’t have time to make an impact.