Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Puyol,
Piqué, Chygrynskiy, Abidal; Busquets (Xavi 52'), Touré Yaya
(Jonathan Dos Santos 75'), Maxwell; Jeffren (Pedro 59'), Messi, Bojan. 4-3-3.
Athletic: Gorka Iraizoz; Iraola, San José, Amorebieta, Koikili; Javi Martínez, Gurpegui; David López (Yeste 46'), Susaeta, Gabilondo (Toquero 46'); Llorente (Iturraspe 69'). 4-2-3-1.
1-0. 26. Jeffren. Ghosted in on far post to turn Maxwell's long cross in to net.
2-0. 41. Bojan. Whipped shot inside Gorka's near post from Puyol pass.
3-0. 58. Bojan. Collected Abidal's cross and fired shot wide of Gorka.
4-0. 66. Messi. Got on end of Pedro cross to force shot under keeper.
4-1. 76. Susaeta. Picked up Yeste pass and cut in to shoot wide of Valdés.
Yellow cards: Touré Yaya 60', Javi Martínez 60', Gurpegui 79'.
One week away from the big derby game, Barcelona moved three points ahead of title rivals Real Madrid pending their game at Racing on Sunday after beating fifth placed Athletic Bilbao 4-1.With a midweek Champions League game to come as well, Guardiola put out a changed line up, with Bojan added to the team at the last minute after Ibrahimovic injured himself in the pre-match warm up.
Athletic were no push over though, and Susaeta and Javi Martínez both went close before Messi just failed to turn in Bojan's cross. A few minutes later Messi and Abidal combined for Jeffren to slide the ball in on the far post, but the visitors came close to equalising when Chygrynskiy just got enough on Gabilondo's cross to force Llorente to shoot over the bar.
Before the half time whistle though Barça went two up, Puyol winning the ball in midfield and passing through for Bojan to steer a shot inside Gorka's near post. Caparrós reacted bring on Toquero and Yeste at the break, and for a few minutes it worked, Toquero heading against the outside of the post and Javi Martínez and Gurpegui going close.
But on came Xavi to calm things down, and a few minutes later Messi and Abidal worked another move down the left for Bojan to control the latter's pass and fire a shot past Gorka. Soon afterwards Messi got on the scoresheet again after drilling Pedro's cross through the legs of the keeper, and it was all over.
Susaeta got a consolation goal back after Yeste put him through, and both keepers had saves to make after that, Valdés a couple from Iturraspe and Gorka from Xavi, but Barça had tied up another three points which puts the pressure back on Madrid.