Great day for Barcelona!

They have risen from the ashes and right now leapfrogged their arch-rivals Real Madrid to move to the second place of the points table courtesy of the poor show against the lower-ranked sides of La Liga. Otherwise, the story could have been different.

A few weeks ago Athletic Club stunned Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, but in La Liga, it was a different story.

This time around – no upsets at all.

The 555-million EuroMan Lionel Messi was back in Ronald Koeman’s starting XI with Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele in the attack, while Miralem Pjanic came in for the suspended Sergio Busquets in midfield and center-back Samuel Umtiti started ahead of Clement Lenglet.

Messi broke through early but failed to chip past Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon.

Later on, the 555-million Euro Man got another crack at goal from a favourable free-kick position outside the area and he could not have struck it any sweeter, curling a left-footed effort that sailed right over the head of defender Yeray and into the top right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Barca, who marshaled the game in the first half, were left on the back foot when an excellent cross from Raul Garcia from the left was mistakenly turned into the net by Alba due to the pressure coming from Oscar de Marcos.

But Barcelona started to regain control over the game.

A Pjanic header required a reaction save from Unai Simon.

Dembele found Oscar Mingueza on an overlapping run and the square across was put on a silver platter for Griezmann to slam into the net to make it 2-1.

Griezmann did not enjoy a fantastic game but he got the goal at a crucial time for his side – good positioning and a smart finish.

Athletic looked to pull level at the end of regulation to revive the memories of the Spanish Super Cup Final and Inaki Williams came within a whisker of getting on the end of a Yuri Berchiche cross just yards away from goal.

Well, in the end, Barcelona bagged full points.

Frankie de Jong was back in his best rhythm and held the midfield together along with Pjanic.

Pedri was one of the most potent performers in the first half and always looking to create danger and showed off his superb technical ability. Yet his pressing off the ball shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Arajuo was solid in defence but also showed his capabilities in the attack. Mingueza was deployed at right-back and did a noble job in what is not his natural position. A great run and assist for Barcelona’s second goal. Meanwhile, Jordi Alba demonstrated his frightening speed down the left flank, both for offensive and defensive duties.


Overall, a decent performance from the Catalans.

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