Barcelona find two reasons to hope despite draw to Athletic Club

Barcelona's Spanish forward #27 Lamine Yamal shoots during the Spanish league football match between Athletic Club Bilbao and FC Barcelona at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on March 3, 2024.
Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

The draw against Athletic Club was far from the ideal result that FC Barcelona were looking for. With their rivals having dropped key points, Barça had a clear opportunity to finally take advantage of such a chance. However, as has often been the case this season, Barcelona continues to drop unnecessary points.

Much of the blame for that can be shared between the tactics of the coach and individual performances. Barcelona looked uninspiring for much of the game, and also ended up losing two key players to injury. Many such factors combined in making a dull game to watch for the most part.

However, if there were some bright spots to point out, Mundo Deportivo believes that two players deserve mention. Interestingly, neither of these two players are veterans or experienced superstars in the team. Instead, they are both youngsters finally breaking through into the first team and making their name.

The first is Pau Cubarsi, a 17-year-old central defender who started against Athletic Club. Partnering Ronald Araujo against one of La Liga’s most formidable opponents, it is almost wondrous what this youngster continues to showcase. Across the 76 minutes he was on the field, the defender made sure to showcase his talents prominently.

He completed 70 out of the 79 total passes he attempted, which were the highest tally of the game for any player. Moreover, he had 90 touches during the match itself, and also completed a successful dribble, which was the only one he attempted. Two of his passes even reached the final third, showing a level of verticality.

Defensively, he won two out of the three tackles that he committed himself to. He also won four of the five ground duels that he took part in, showcasing a strength of his that helped Barcelona a lot in a tough contest. The defender also made three ball recoveries in San Mames.

The other player that MD has taken special notice of is 16-year-old Lamine Yamal. A player of great virtue who is already seen as a generational talent, Yamal continues to impress. Against Athletic Club, despite only playing 45 minutes, his presence was felt.

He had a total of 52 touches, with which he created arguably the most danger out of any Barcelona forward. The winger successfully completed three out of the five dribble he attempted, and had 22 successful passes with four of them directed towards the final third.

However, beyond just his offensive brilliance, Yamal was ever-present in defensive actions as well. He made 7 ball recoveries despite being a forward, and also won two of the three tackles that he attempted during the game. In terms of ground duels, he won a staggering 9 out of 12 of them.

His entire performance seemed quite complete from start to finish, and alongside Cubarsi, he continues to push Xavi to keep playing him. While he would not play too much in an ideal world, Barcelona is not living in one. Nevertheless, taking care of these special talents is another headache altogether that Xavi must remain mindful of.

The Latest

Financial constraints could cause Barcelona to water down their summer plans

As they have been largely unable to significantly improve their financial conditions, FC Barcelona will find it difficult to get all their desired targets...

‘Everything is open’… Laporta opines on Xavi’s Barcelona future

As Xavi Hernandez has already announced his departure from FC Barcelona at the end of this season, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding...

Pedri reminisces about the 6-1 ‘remontada’ of Barcelona vs PSG

The upcoming match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain will be of huge importance to both teams. The Blaugranes dream of going to the...

Pedri, Cubarsi to start: Barcelona predicted line-up vs PSG

FC Barcelona are set to take on PSG in one of their most hotly anticipated clashes of the season. La Blaugrana are not exactly...

Xavi gives his two cents on controversial former Barcelona winger

Even for FC Barcelona, meeting familiar faces is a normality when it comes to the football pitch. A lot of the former players from...

The new Camp Nou could end up saving Barcelona – report

The economic issues of FC Barcelona have greatly hurt their progression in recent seasons. The Blaugranes, due to their absurd amounts of financial debt...

Only one candidate remains in race to replace Xavi at Barcelona

The head coach position at FC Barcelona is subject to a lot of uncertainty since Xavi Hernandez announced his decision to leave the club...

Xavi talks Pedri, Gundogan, Yamal, Cubarsi, Dembele ahead of Barcelona vs PSG

A decisive night awaits Xavi as his FC Barcelona team takes on Paris Saint Germain in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League...

Pedri talks Cubarsi, Christensen, Gundogan, Mbappe, Dembele ahead of Barcelona vs PSG

FC Barcelona have one of their most important games approaching them in a day’s time as they prepare to face Paris Saint Germain in...