Athletic Club Bilbao vs Barcelona – La Liga – Preview

Posted on by Sreya

Barcelona will kick off their 2015/16 La Liga campaign at San Mamés Stadium against Athletic Club Bilbao on Sunday. The Primera Division defending champions will return to the venue where they were humiliated to a 4-0 defeat in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup by the same Athletic Bilbao side less than two weeks ago.

Team News & Formation

Athletic Club Bilbao’s squad is severely depleted with Jonas Ramalho, Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain absent through injuries. Kike Sola is suspended while Balenziaga, Etxeita, San Jose and Iturraspe also listed as doubtful. For Barcelona, Neymar, Adriano and Douglas are injured. Both of Barcelona’s first choice centre halves Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu will miss the game due to suspensions. Jordi Alba faces a late fitness test, but is expected to start.

Athletic Club Bilbao Possible Starting XI: Gorka Iraizoz, De Marcos, Etxieta, Aymeric Laporte, Balenziaga, Markel Susaeta, San Jose, Benat, Sabin Merino, Javier Eraso, Adurij.

Barcelona Possible Starting XI: Claudio Bravo, Dani Alves, Marc Batra, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Rafinha.

Contributor’s Pick

According to Head-2-Head statistics, Barcelona have won 62% of its matches against Athletic Bilbao till date. The Catalan club are missing a number of key players through injuries and suspensions, but have enough quality to see of an equally injury-riddled opposition. While Barcelona have won 9 of their last 10 away matches in La Liga, Athletic Club Bilbao have won 8 of their last home matches in the competition. Although Barcelona lost by a considerable margin at the same venue against the same time a few days ago, the La Liga is a different ball-game and Barcelona should prevail with a 2-1 scoreline.

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