Barcelona player ratings after hard fought win over Athletic
A series of second half substitutions from Barça boss Setien was instrumental in offering the home side added verve with Rakitic bagging the winner.
Player ratings: FC Barcelona vs Athletic Club FC
Ter Stegen: The German keeper was rarely called into action in either half but was competent in his role in distributing well from the back. His sole error in the second could have led to Raul Garcia heading home for the visitors.
Nelson Semedo: The Portuguese defender delivered an accomplished performance particularly in the first half where he complimented the attacks well. Was discreet in the second 45 and rarely tested as the Basque side sat deeper.
Pique: Dealt well with what little danger came his way and was rarely troubled in the second half with the substitution of Iñaki Williams. Delivered a scare for Barcelona fans when he appeared to be in pain with a muscular problem late in the action but managed to finish the 90 minutes.
Lenglet: Delivered a solid defensive performance and was rarely called into action against the defensively minded Athletic Club.
Jordi Alba: A constant outlet for the home side in forward attacks especially in the first half as the Catalan side retained the ball and probed for a way past the dogged Athletic rear-guard.
Busquets: Will miss the next league game following a first half yellow card for dangerous play. The central player appeared to tire as the game developed and will welcome the break at the weekend with the sanction.
Vidal: Many of Barcelona's players looked to tire quickly and the Chilean despite being instrumental in much of the expansive and positive play employed by the Catalan side in the first period is one of these.
Arthur: The Brazilian was accomplished and competent for Barcelona team but may find his place threatened by the highly impressive Puig who replaced Arthur early in the second half.
Messi: Not a vintage night for the Argentine who came close on two occasions to securing goal number 700 in a FC Barcelona shirt. The captain was tireless despite some uncharacteristic loose and wayward passes.
Luis Suarez: Despite still finding his way back from the long lay off via injury, we've yet to see the Luis Suarez of old with the Uruguayan struggling to get into the rhythm and dynamic of the action.
Griezmann: Another discreet performance from the French striker who is still struggling to adapt to his new surroundings at Camp Nou.
Rakitic: The hero for the home side who was on hand to rifle past Unai Simon in the 71st minute following a Messi assist.
Puig: The youth academy talent was the revelation of the night and directly instrumental in kick-starting the second half revival through an energetic display. Despite playing for less than 50 minutes, Puig was the game changer for Quique Setien's side.
Braithwaite: The Danish player had limited time to impose himself on the action coming on for a tiring Luis Suarez in the 84th minute.