FC Barcelona (2nd, 65pts) vs Athletic Bilbao (10th, 42pts)
Competition/Round: 2019-20 La Liga, Matchday 31
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Frenkie De Jong, Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembélé (out)
Athletic Outs & Doubts: Yuri Berchiche (out)
Date/Time: Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 10pm CET (Barcelona), 9pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 4pm ET, 1pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (OH GOD)
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Not Available (India), others
Following a disgraceful display and a costly goalless draw in Seville, Barcelona return to La Liga action as they welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Greatest Stadium on Earth. Barça are unbeaten since the restart of the season and have kept four clean sheets in a row (thanks to the best goalkeeper on the planet and only him), but things are not positive right now.
The performance against Sevilla was truly disappointing, especially from a coaching standpoint. Quique Setién got everything wrong: his team selections, his tactics, his (absurd) substitutions, everything. A coach so many Barça fans wanted for not being Ernesto Valverde is looking a lot like his predecessor: devoid of any new ideas and simply telling his team to pass the ball 40 times from side to side until the ball reaches Lionel Messi and he does something with it.
The football is boring, the chances are few and far between, and the defending is appalling. Nothing about Setién’s football gives fans any reason to be confident for the rest of the La Liga season and the Champions League in August. Things need to be better. Quickly. Real Madrid are probably winning the title now, so Barça have to get ready for Europe. Every game matters.
I don’t care that Athletic is a good team that knocked us out of the Copa del Rey. Beat them. Handily. Please.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Griezmann, Ansu Fati
Athletic (3-4-1-2): Simón; Yeray, Martínez, Núñez; Capa, García, Vesga, Balenziaga; Muniain; Villalibre, Williams
I’m hoping for a big response from the players and from the coach, but I’m not confident in this team right now: 2-2 draw.