Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Barcelona: 3 talking points | LaLiga 2019/2020
An acrobatic 89th minute spectacular strike by evergreen Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz was enough to condemn Barcelona to an opening day defeat in the first match of their league defense.
The acrobatic volley was actually the first touch of the ball by the 38-year-old, showing the lack of decisiveness in Barcelona's play throughout the match.
The defeat Barcelona suffered means they have lost their opening game in a LaLiga season for the first time since a 1-0 loss to Numancia in the 2008/2009 season, but fans would take solace from the fact that the Catalans went on to win an unprecedented treble that term.
In this piece, we shall be highlighting three talking points from Barcelona's loss to Athletic Bilbao.
#1 Barcelona struggled for incisiveness in the absence of Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi resumed training later than his teammates due to his participation at the Copa America, but disaster struck on his first day back with the squad, as he suffered a calf injury and missed his side's trip to the San Mames.
The 32-year-old is unarguably the best player in Barcelona's illustrious history and has single-handedly decided the outcome of matches too numerous to mention.
Any side would suffer in the absence of Messi, and this proved to be the case against Athletic Bilbao, and even though there were a number of proven performers on the field, the Blaugrana simply failed to pull their weight against their hosts.
There was a lack of decisiveness about the Catalans' play, and despite having most of the possession, they lacked a cutting edge to truly threaten the Bilbao goal.
Their transition between midfield and attack was simply non-existent, with Messi's absence jarringly obvious for all to see.
In total, Barcelona managed to muster just two shots on target over the 90 minutes, and it is hard to imagine this happening had Messi been present.
Given the heightened struggles Barcelona experienced without the services of Lionel Messi, they would be hoping he would be fit in time for their next fixture against Real Betis.