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Three talking points from Athletic Club 0-0 Barcelona | La Liga GW 27

There was a lot of hype ahead of the clash between Barcelona and Athletic Club on Sunday night. After all, the two teams had dished out a phenomenally fighting game not so long ago in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

Last night, however, the scoreboard read 0-0 at full-time. Neither side got the required breakthrough nor came close to doing the same, thus scripting one of La Liga’s most painful games to watch as a fan.

Xavi’s side headed back home with a point, but the blows they suffered on the night were simply not worth the cause. Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Athletic Club 0-0 Barcelona.

Dull and dusted

The clash between Barcelona and Athletic Club was far from the hype it generated prior. The two sides have dished out some electric performances in recent years, with the Copa del Rey meeting being a prime example, but last night’s game lacked any form of energy.

For ninety minutes, both Barcelona and Athletic Club struggled in the final third. Both teams together accumulated an xG of 1 on the night, speaking volumes about the dull game that unfolded.

The first thirty minutes of the night did not see a single shot on target. By the full-time whistle, that number reached a meagre four.

While the hosts did show some minor resurgence in the second half, Barcelona were lifeless throughout the 90 minutes. Sideways passes dominated their play as there appeared to be little to no intent in pushing forward.

It is thus safe to say that last night’s performance was a step back after the 4-0 rout of Getafe last weekend. The Catalans were dismal and without energy, headlined by their glaring inability in generating attacking transitions.

A price too heavy to bear

Frenkie de Jong being taken off injured vs Athletic Club. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Barcelona did not generate any positives to take home from San Mames. Yet, they were forced to pay a massive price for the single point they took home in the form of two gargantuan injuries.

Frenkie de Jong was the first player to go off injured on the night after landing awkwardly on his ankle after an aerial duel. In just the 25th minute of the game, the Dutchman went down in clear pain, so much so that he could not walk off the field and was taken by a vehicle.

Pedri was the second victim on the night, and prima facie, the more seriously affected one. The youngster went down in discomfort towards the end of the first half with his hand around his hamstring. The worst, a relapse of his previous injury, appears to have occurred as the player was seen in tears on the sidelines.

The picture, thus, does not look good for Xavi’s men. With two of his best, and most creative midfielders ruled out for the foreseeable future, it could well imply curtains for Barcelona’s season across competitions. 

After all, both setbacks appear serious and the return leg against Napoli is not all that far away. Only time will tell how Xavi will cope with the latest blows.

Failed to capitalise 

Matchday 27 of La Liga provided Barcelona with a golden chance to go second on the table and sneak back into the title race. After all, they were one of the last teams to play on the weekend and saw all their direct rivals drop precious points.

Enough has been said about Real Madrid’s clash against Valencia, for Los Blancos dropped two points on the night controversially. Despite the scrutiny around the referee’s decision, Barcelona had a special opportunity to close the gap with Real Madrid to just six points with a win.

Moreover, Girona also lost their game to Mallorca by a 1-0 margin, allowing Barcelona to leapfrog them with a win. After all, a win would take Xavi’s side to 60 points, a point clear of the Catalan rivals.

After the result at San Mames, it is clear that Barcelona let go of a golden opportunity. They now still sit third on the standings with 58 points, one point behind Girona and eight behind Real Madrid. With just 11 matchdays to go, the title race may well be over.

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