La Liga: FC Barcelona - Athletic Bilbao

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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:51 pm

Must win game now, we can go to only 1 point behind 1st place.

FC Barcelona are away to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night at 9.00pm (CET), and on the same weekend as the Madrid derby, this could be a key game in deciding the ultimate outcome of the Liga title. The visitors are in a buoyant mood after winning their last eight official matches.

Since starting the year with defeat at Anoeta, Barça have done nothing but win both in the league and cup. The upshot of that is that they’re second in the former and into the semi-finals of the latter, where they will face Villarreal. In doing so, they have scored an astonishing 29 goals and conceded just five.

Back to San Mamés

But Barça have not won a league game in Bilbao since the 2010/11 season, when they won 3-1 with goals from Xavi, Keita and Sergio. The last three visits have resulted in two draws and one defeat.

Both the game in 2011/12 and the one in 2012/13 ended 2-2, with Messi featuring prominently in both. Last season was Barça’s first visit to the brand new San Mamés, but there was disappointment for Tata Martino as well. Barça lost 1-0. The Basques are currently twelfth in the league table and through to the cup semi-finals, where they’ll face Espanyol.

http://www.fcbarcelona.com/football/first-team/detail/article/fc-barcelona-facing-tough-challenge-in-bilbao

San Mamés a special place for Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique told his Saturday morning press conference how much he enjoys games away to Athletic Bilbao, the day before he is set to visit the new San Mamés for the first time as Barça manager. “It’s always very special because of the atmosphere there” he said. “It’s like an English stadium.” He visited the new ground for the first time last season when he was at Celta and says “it’s a beautiful stadium and we want to be worthy of such a place.”

On the opposition, he commented that “they compete for every ball, you can’t relax for two seconds. And they have a lot of physical players that are strong in the air … Their season didn’t get off to a great start, but I think that’s because they were struggling to play in both La Liga and the Champions League.” The Basques are currently twelfth in the table, but Luis Enrique feels “they have stayed faithful to the same Athletic style of the last few seasons. We know them well and we know Ernesto Valverde well. We know this is going to be a difficult match.” Indeed, Barça have not won away to Bilbao in any of the last three attempts.

He feels it has been a bonus not to have a midweek fixture going into the match. “These were the best training sessions we’ve had all season” he was happy to say. “They’ve been playing at an extraordinary level, so I’m pretty optimistic about our chances tomorrow.”

All three of the top teams are going to have our bad days and there will be plenty of movements in the league table
The team has now won eight matches in a row, and commenting on that, the FCB manager said “it would be nice to think that there won’t be any more difficult situations between now and the end of the season. But there are bound to be games where we’re not quite as effective as usual and make mistakes … But all three of the top teams are going to have our bad days and there will be plenty of movements in the league table. Especially as we get nearer to the end of the season, when there are teams fighting against relegations, That’s when you always get surprises.”

Barça are four points behind leaders Real Madrid, who face Atlético Madrid in the city derby later today. “The best result for us would be a draw” said Luis Enrique. “Otherwise, it would always be better for the team lowest in the table to win. But I don’t base my methods on the scores between other teams. What we need to do is make sure we win our matches.”

http://www.fcbarcelona.com/football/first-team/detail/article/san-mames-a-special-place-for-luis-enrique
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Post by Harmonica Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:53 pm

Messi didn't play in last defeat, and when he was on the field 12-13, Barca scored 2 on 1. So there's not much to it. Needless to say must win game though.
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Post by futbol Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:58 pm

Muniain (Athletic): "We'll try to do same as last season. They play more direct now, so we have to finish our actions, or they'll kill us."

Proud

Directcelona inflicting DAT fear. Proud

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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:01 pm

Bravo
Alves - Pique - Mathieu - Alba
Xavi - Busquets - Rakitic
Messi - Suarez - Neymar

Bench: Ter Stegen, Bartra, Adriano, Mascherano, Iniesta, Rafinha y Pedro

Btw anyone else think Laporte looks like a tall Messi?

http://estaticos.sport.es/resources/jpg/2/9/defensa-del-athletic-sufrido-hasta-llegar-primer-equipo-1423341987392.jpg
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Post by futbol Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:13 pm

Wonder if Xavi has the legs for a game like this. They will surely be all over us intensity-wise.

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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:24 pm

Messi scores off a deflection. So far a very entertaining match, Bravo had a fantastic save and MSN had a great build up which was saved by a great Iraizoz save. Even Xavi is taking headers now.
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Post by windkick Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:33 pm

Bilbao has to be upset, they have been in controlling the majority of the match and pushed us back, and we are winning lol.

Glad to see Suarez score, and his header was also great but was saved. As long as he is getting on target and keeps up the great passes and runs we will be fine up front. Mathieu so far has been shaky, and Bravo been top notch.

And why didn't Xavi shoot it when he got past the keeper?
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:35 pm

Aduriz beats Mathieu in the air to head a bullet... straight into the post. Bravo can count himself lucky if he gets a clean sheet today.
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Post by windkick Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:39 pm

I also think Xavi and Rakitic should switch roles. Xavi keeps messing up scoring runs, that should be ok for Rakitic do make.
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:41 pm

Rakitic never gets played on the left, I don't think LE trusts him there. I don't think Xavi is having a bad game either, he's playing some great one touch football at times and is making runs into the area, which we haven't seen in a while.
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:26 pm

Messi with 2 goals and 2 assists (although it's not sure Marca will give him any of the goals). Superlative 2014 Proud

Athletic scored twice against us and I cont ourselves lucky for that. Between Aduriz' header to the post and Bravo's great save early on we really could be drawing this match 4-4.

Alves off for Adriano.
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Post by windkick Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:47 pm

Messi's second goal I think is officially marked an own goal for Bilbao.

I honestly be more confident with our form headed into the City game, which is pretty soon.
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Post by Donuts Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:52 pm

messi's first goal should be official, and his second should be own goal.

neymar missing some easy chances but still on the board
same with suarez.

but anyways good to see all our forwards including pedro scoring.
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Post by Winter is Coming Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:56 pm

My phone is tripping lol I have an app for the game results says Messi has 2 goals and 3 assists lol

Anyways brilliant game and great result so happy this team after Sociedad loss has been playing impressively.
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Post by futbol Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:59 pm

Mathieu better than Mascherano. Ya, right. Laughing

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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:07 pm

Messi teaches Busquets a lesson about how much good staying in the ground does



Spoiler: not much
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:08 pm

Winter is Coming wrote:My phone is tripping lol I have an app for the game results says Messi has 2 goals and 3 assists lol

Anyways brilliant game and great result so happy this team after Sociedad loss has been playing impressively.


Only 1 goal and 2 assists, although he was the key player in all of them.

Say what you will of Xavi but the guy didn't start the last 2 games and he still needed to be subbed off early today.
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Post by Harmonica Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:16 pm

Atleast official Liga site gives it to Messi, so 2+2, not 1+3 as it stands.
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Post by Bankz Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:19 pm

Messi 3 assists?
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Post by DuringTheWar Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:23 pm

Bankz wrote:Messi 3 assists?


If the second was an own goal, the defender kicking it into his own net is an assist. At least in the minds of some crazy people
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Post by Harmonica Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:40 pm

They changed it to own goal, which it should be, so the fifth hat-trick of assists for Messi.

http://www.lfp.es/directo/temporada-2014-2015/liga-bbva/22/athletic_barcelona
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Post by CBarca Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:54 pm

Messi :bow:

What a game :bow:

I thought Busquets was quite impressive, while Suarez and Neymar were :bow:

MSN is not disappointing.
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Post by Winter is Coming Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:58 pm

Alex, should we sell Messi still?
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Post by futbol Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:01 am

Susaeta (Athletic): "Barça have dealt incredibly well with our pressing. It's amazing to watch them play."

Proud

Luis Enrique: "We feel very comfortable with the ball, and we also start to feel good without the ball."

Proud

Luis Enrique: "If a team press you this high like Athletic does, it's difficult to resist playing fast and using the space they leave."

Proud

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Post by BarrileteCosmico Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:12 am

Every time I hear something like that I can't help but think "Imagine the field day the Catalan media would've had if Martino said that" Mad
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