Barcelona managed their ninth 1-0 win of the La Liga season on Sunday night against Athletic Club, and it maintained their nine-point lead at the top of the table in La Liga. Once again it was far from convincing from Barcelona, but they see the game out with some heroic defending and goalkeeping from Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The Blaugrana had 64% of possession against Athletic, a far cry from the 33% they defended with against Real Madrid 11 days ago, but it was no more comfortable. In the final stages of the match, Los Leones managed to apply pressure on Barcelona.
After the match, Barcelona defender Jules Kounde made an accurate but surrpising admission for a Blaugrana side.
“I think it’s been more difficult for us with the ball lately and we don’t have the best sensations, but everyone does our job when we lose it.”
“We are knowing how to suffer but it is difficult for us to close the games lately.”
Those comments were made to Sport, and while it is hard to disagree with Kounde, it makes them no less unexpected.
When Xavi Hernandez arrived at Barcelona, the expectation was that something akin to Pep Guardiola’s Azulgrana would be produced in style. However in 2023, Barcelona have been much more adept at defending deep. The injury to Pedri has had a major impact on that, but it is still something of a shock to see Barcelona resort to the thing other sides used to do to them on a regular basis.
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