Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao: Three factors to shape the tie

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Did Barcelona take Athletic Club de Bilbao just a little bit too lightly before the first leg of their Spanish Super Cup final?

How else do you explain such an under-par 90 minutes? Barca weren't at the races for large parts of the game and were deservedly on the end of a hammering.

Their dreams of another sextuple are in tatters at this stage and fingers have already been pointed.


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Luis Enrique's rotations were in full effect for the first leg but backfired spectacularly.

The manager has to take his fair share of the blame for fielding such an XI in the first place, but he might've at least expected his selections to put up a fight.

Let's take a look at three things which will shape the outcome what appears to be a moribund second leg...

All-out attack

Barcelona have no other option.

At 4-0 down the Catalans have to go for the jugular from the very first whistle.

Enrique doesn't seem too fussed telling reporters that 18 times last season Barcelona scored four or more goals, and therefore are perfectly capable of turning the deficit around.

The Blaugrana may well score four, especially at a packed Camp Nou, but with such a attacking flavour to their game plan, they'll likely leave spaces at the back.

If Athletic get one, Barca need six. Even the most optimistic would suggest that's beyond a team that's still without its full complement.

Aduriz the danger again

Aritz Aduriz became the first player since Diego Forlan in 2005 to score a hat-trick against Barcelona and the ageing target man will be a thorn in Barca's side again.

Last season the Blaugrana conceded just twice from set pieces or high balls into the box but were at sixes and sevens throughout the first leg in this regard. 

With their centre forward in such good form, Athletic would be failing in their duties if they don't make the most of his excellent movement and aerial prowess.

Full-strength Barca?

How Enrique sets his team up will tell us immediately whether Barca have already thrown in the towel or believe they have a genuine chance of one of the best comebacks in football history.

The supporters that will flood into Camp Nou will expect nothing less than a full-strength team, and one who can salvage a bit of pride if nothing else.

If the same XI that began the first leg start this one, it would suggest that the club are resting their best players ahead of their opening La Liga fixture at the weekend, coincidentally against Athletic - their third meeting in nine days.

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