FC Barcelona opened the defence of their title with a hard fought 1-0 win over Atheltic Bilbao. We look at all the crucial numbers in the massive away win of the Catalan outfit.
FC Barcelona were demolished at St. Mames just a week before the league tie when Atheltic Bilbao routed them 4-0 in Spanish Super Cup.
Determined to avenge the loss, FC Barcelona gave a complete performance as per manager Luis Enrique, and were able to bank all the three points. Lionel Messi missed a penalty, but a solitary Luis Suarez goal was enough to ensure their win. Make-shift right-back Sergi Roberto put in an impressive display with Dani Alves limping off with a groin strain.
- Jordi Alba provided the assist for Luis SuA?reza s goal and also led the team in attempting the most passes, a total of 99.
- However, it was the Argentine Javier Mascherano who had the most completed passes. 85 of his passes were completed while Alba was limited to 75.
- Rather surprisingly, the Argentine also won the most headers for FC Barcelona despite his lack of height.
- Sergi Roberto, who came on for the injured Dani Alves to play as a make-shift right-back was widely praised for his performance. He made the most crosses into the area with 4.
- Sergi Roberto was also the most combative player in the game with the Spaniard attempting the most tackles in the game, a total of 4.
- Thomas Vermaelen was at the end of most passes in the game, with his team mates finding him 28 times. The Belgian had a fine afternoon in defence winning a total of 12 balls.
- Messi might have missed a penalty, but he led the Blaugrana in terms of shots, firing 4 towards the Bilbao goal. He also ran at the opposing defence more than any other player, making five such solo runs in total.
- However, the Argentina superstar, alongwith Luis Suarez, was dispossessed four times by Athletic Bilbao defenders, the most in the game. It can be argued that, when you attempt as many dribbles as the duo did, you will be dispossessed a few times.
- Claudio Bravo was largely a spectator during the game and was called upon only twice to make saves.
- Bravo has now kept seven clean sheets in a row for the club.
- FC Barcelona had a total of ten shots, four of which were on target with Suarez scoring the only goal of the game.
- Athletic Club only had two goal attempts and were also comfortably outnumbered in possession, with the Catalans holding onto the ball for 69% of the game.
- FC Barcelona also comfortably outdid Athletic Bilbao with 693 passes in comparison to 338.
- FC Barcelona have always relied on short passing game in the modern era and 83% of their passes in the Bilbao game were short ones. They attempted only 101 long passes.
- The win ensured that FC Barcelona started their seventh season in a row with a win.
- The last time Barcelona failed to win their opening game was in the first season of Pep Guardiola in 2008.
- FC Barcelona have won two and lost once against Athletic Bilbao since the opening of the new stadium.
- FC Barcelona had a pass success of 81% in comparison to 60% of Athletic Bilbao
- The Catalans have never been a team that are known for their aerial prowess in recent times and unsurprisingly Athletic Bilbao won 55% of their aerial duels with FC Barcelona winning 45%.
- However, the Catalans certainly were not shy to get stuck into the game, as they attempted 19 tackles in comparison to Athletic Bilbao’s 16.
- Three FC Barcelona player were yellow carded – Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Thomas Vermaelen