Barcelona suffered another drop points with Ernesto Valverde’s failed rotation policy
Barcelona after playing 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao now have dropped seven points within a week. It’s another witness of Ernesto Valverde’s failed rotation policy as he left Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets on the bench. Thanks to Lionel Messi’s off the bench performances in the second-half, Barcelona fought back to earn a draw at Camp Nou in second successive game.
La Blaugrans started with the inclusion of Arturo vidal in the middle alongside Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto. Valverde opted for Nelson Semedo as a right-back playing Roberto in the middle and it allowed Philippe Coutinho to be deployed on the left wing. Ousmane Dembele played on right wing, whereas Luis Suarez was given his no.9 position.
A future without Messi really is the bleakest of panoramas for Barcelona. But he is 31 and that moment is unfortunately edging ever closer…
— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) September 29, 2018
It wasn’t a bad performance from changed Barcelona lineup, but Ernesto Valverde has been unlucky with his rotation policy. Luis Suarez came close to give Barcelona lead in 5th minute from a free-kick after Sergi Roberto was fouled outside the Bilbao box. Suarez free-kick missed the left corner and Uruguayan only left frustrated to waste the opportunity in absence of Messi.
Athletic Bilbao also have had their chances in initial minutes of the game. Inaki William and Raul Garcia were combining well up front and they missed chances in quick succession respectively in 11th and 12th minute.
Barcelona haven’t won since Messi lost the beard ?? pic.twitter.com/VJFyOtLQM2
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 29, 2018
On the other side, Luis Suarez should have done better with Arturo Vidal’s through ball pass but Uruguayan didn’t fancy his chance considering himself offside although referee doesn’t raise the flag. He played straight into Athletic Bilbao’s goalkeeper Unai Simon’s body. Suarez couldn’t believe he wasn’t offside but the opportunity was gone.
Athletic Bilbao pounced on their opportunity in the 40th minute as Markel Susaeta assisted Oscar De Marcos to finish from close range. Visitors into the tunnel at half-time with a lead and were looking to end their Camp Nou’s winless run.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 29, 2018
Athletic Club haven’t won at Camp Nou since 2001 and they could dream of ending that winless run, but Lionel Messi was introduced in second-half and everything changed. Messi came close to find the equalizer but he was denied by the post again.
It has been highlight of this season. Messi has almost struck the post and crossbar in every match. But before Messi, Coutinho also struck the crossbar which could have been an equalizer for Barcelona.
Barcelona didn’t win the game but Messi was fruitful coming off the bench. He did helped Munir El Haddadi find the equalizer splitting the defence to the right and playing a ball in the middle to help Munir give it a touch from close range.
Ivan Rakitic should have won the game for Barcelona. Messi sets him brilliantly putting in a cross inside the box, but Croatian strikes it high to bury the opportunity. Valverde has always been criticized for his rotation policies because it hasn’t been fruitful since he has taken charge at club’s helm, but it’s a big worry for the club as they have lost 7 points within a week.