The Reason Why Barcalona Destroy Athletico Bilbao Today
Dembele sparks life into Barcelona in comfortable win over Athletic
Barcelona eased past Athletic Club at Camp Nou on Sunday night with a 4-0 victory to retain their spot in the top four on goal difference ahead of Atletico Madrid.
Both teams opted to rotate ahead of the fixture, with Xavi opting to rest Frenkie de Jong in an unexpected switch and Athletic made changes of their own, with regulars like Iker Muniain, Inaki Williams and Inigo Martinez all left on the bench ahead of their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Valencia in midweek.
However, it was the substitutes who had the decisive say, with Ousmane Dembele, Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay all coming off the bench to score.
Aubameyang’s form continues
In the game, Gavi had the first real chance, but sent his effort high over the crossbar from inside the box.
Later on, a cross into the box saw Gerard Pique rise highest to head the ball onto the crossbar, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ready and waiting to pounce on the rebound and give Barcelona the lead.
The second half was a more tame affair, with the best chances falling to Ferran Torres but Unai Simon was equal to his efforts, until Dembele made it two.
The Frenchman had come on a substitute for Ferran in the 67th minute and burst down the left in space before unleashing a rocket of a shot into the near post.
To celebrate, the winger headed to the dugout where he embraced Xavi.
He then turned provider, switching to the right flank and putting a pinpoint cross into the path of fellow substitute Luuk De Jong, who duly obliged and turned the ball home, and then Dembele repeated the feat moments later to set up Depay.
Depay was making his return to action, having been sidelined since with injury since January, and marked the occasion with his ninth goal of the season.
The win took Barcelona’s unbeaten streak to six games, dating back to their Copa del Rey defeat to Athletic in January.
Crucially, it also cut the distance to third-placed Real Betis following their loss to Sevilla to just one point, while Barcelona remain level on points with Atletico Madrid.
Athletic, meanwhile, remain five points off the European places behind Villarreal and Real Sociedad.