Player Ratings: Barça vs Bilbao

Athletic de Bilbao v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports
Athletic de Bilbao v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

On the heels of Real Madrid and Girona dropping points, Barça would face a stiff test on their travel to the Basque country. A difficult match against an Athletic Bilbao that has been playing quite well recently, but three points would do wonders to tighten the title race just a bit more.

However, Barça's bad luck (incompetence?) would strike again, with two first half injuries to Frenkie de Jong and Pedri. Despite this, the game was knotted at 0-0 throughout, and Barça did well to keep Bilbao scoreless. But to no avail, as they simply couldn't break the deadlock. They might've played for 200 minutes and it still didn't seem like they would've scored.

Let's take a look at each player and see how they contributed to this rather disappointing draw.


Marc-André ter Stegen: 7/10 - The German shot-stopper didn't have a ton to do in this one. He commanded the box well when he needed to and was alright when playing out from the back. Bilbao were in and around the penalty box, to be sure, but not a great deal of shots threatened ter Stegen. They only had two shots on target.


Cancelo: 7/10 - The left back on the day, he had a good match, for my money. He was one of the few players willing to take on defenders and try to make things happen, even if they didn't always work out. For my money, that's better than doing nothing. He did have a devastatingly bad touch on one of Barça's best forays into the box, which was supremely disappointing, but otherwise he was alright. He also almost scored from midfield, which was fun.

Cubarsí: 7/10 - It's quite impressive, despite the chatter from some Barça fans of late, that this youngster is this good. It's made the Christensen in midfield experiment possible, having someone as dependable as Cubarsí behind. He defended well against Iñaki Williams, as well as others. His timing on defense was quite good, and he cut off shooting angles more than once. His passing wasn't quite at such a high level today, though.

Araújo: 7/10 - Despite a somewhat clumsy foul that resulted in a yellow (and his suspension for the next match) he had a good match. He was imperious in the air and dealt with a good number of crosses. He also kept Williams and later Villalibre at bay.

Koundé: 7/10 - Didn't have much action going forward, but Cancelo was more of the threat on the day. Bilbao's press made it hard on him to connect with Raphinha and later Yamal. However, he also dealt with a fair number of aerial balls, and defended quite well. It was a good game for him, and he was a big reason for the clean sheet.

Martínez: 7/10 - Didn't play much off the bench, but he looked solid as ever. The former Bilbao player just looks at home out there. He showed a bit of urgency with some of his progressive passes as well, which was needed. It was a bit hard to watch the other tired Barça players look sluggish.


De Jong: 6/10 - The first of Barça's injury list tonight. While he was out there, though, there wasn't much to speak of. He was defending most of the time, with Barça unable to control the ball and leave their mark on the match. Constant losses in the midfield because of the Bilbao press made him quite ineffective.

Pedri: 6/10 - It seems to be another hamstring issue for the Canarian. He left in tears in the first half, just after De Jong. Hard to even analyze his play after that, but it was... uninspired. It may just be the injuries, but he hasn't been special this season.

Christensen: 5/10 - The experiment isn't terrible, but against a team like Bilbao and its relentless press, someone with more ball-playing skills would be better. Who, you ask? Well, nobody. Barça don't currently have a player like that in the position, and the Dane is playing out of position, so it's hard to fault him. He was a big part of the clean sheet, but he simply isn't good enough at the moment to bypass the press and play through it. Barça were often forced into long balls because of this and the injuries. Long balls that didn't quite work out.

Gündoğan: 5/10 - He had one great pass to Fermín near the end of the first half, but other than that it was nothing to write home about. Balls slightly misplaced, passes slightly off. They just couldn't find a way through the defense, the German included. One has to wonder if fatigue is at play here, since he's played quite a bit this season. It doesn't help that the midfield will be even thinner going forward.

Fermín: 6/10 - His characteristic runs in behind didn't produce any fruit today. One opportunity seemed to be a good one, but he couldn't get it past Simón. He shot another wide. Apart from this, he was a bit sloppy, although he was consistently open in that right half-space. He just couldn't string together the final balls or combinations to actually break through.

Romeu: 6/10 - Didn't get much burn, and he was fine in the minutes he played. Bilbao had backed off the press a bit, but he wasn't going to help the attack progress much anyway. Crucially, he didn't commit any mistakes, which was key.


Raphinha: 5/10 - Not much of anything from the Brazilian. Not a cross whipped in or a left-footed shot basically all match. He couldn't get in behind at any point, nor could he affect the defense or make them doubt much. Yamal came on and dribbled more players in five minutes than Raphinha did all match.

Lewandowski: 5/10 - Apart from some tussles with the center backs, there wasn't much at all from Robert. The Pole was isolated all night, and apart from one promising moment that was ultimately blocked, he was invisible. After initially trying some hold up play through him, the long balls started coming through, and he couldn't get on the end of any of them.

Yamal: 6/10 - A little better on the right from Yamal, but he also couldn't find the final ball or shot. The Bilbao defense was compact when it needed to be, and he just couldn't find any space. A misplaced ball here or there, and his impact was nullified.

Félix: 7/10 - I like what I saw from Félix in this one. He didn't play much time, but he did try to take on defenders and draw fouls or combine with other players. Same as everyone else, though, he just couldn't get through the defense. It didn't help that he was playing more centrally, but that's where he likes to operate.

All in all, a hard match to watch. As I said, there was never really a point where you'd think Barça might score. A few moments, maybe, that were quickly snuffed out. Three points would've been huge for them here, but the dreaded San Mamés only offered them a draw. They'll take the point, for sure, especially in this difficult venue, and with Bilbao's run of form of late, but there's a massive disappointment in this one. With more injuries suffered, the season is getting late early for Barça.