Barcelona showed they have plenty in reserve ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Arsenal as they beat Athletic Bilbao 4-1 with a team featuring several fringe players at the Nou Camp.
Barca scrapped their usual 4-3-3 formation in favour of a more orthodox 4-4-2, while there were also several changes in personnel – including Bojan Krkic promoted from the bench after Zlatan Ibrahimovic struggled in the warm-up with a right leg problem. The Swede is to undergo tests and should find out the severity of his injury on Sunday.
But the results were the same as the Catalans stormed to a resounding victory to move provisionally back to the top of La Liga in perfect preparation for Tuesday’s clash with the Gunners.
Youngster Jeffren Suarez, who started on the right of midfield, opened the scoring after 26 minutes, before Bojan bagged a brace either side of half-time.
Lionel Messi added a fourth midway through the second period and, although Markel Susaeta pulled a goal back for Athletic late on, it was merely a consolation.