Barcelona vs Athletic Club Bilbao – La Liga – Preview

Posted on by Sreya

Real Sociedad vs Barcelona

Barcelona will host Athletic Club Bilbao at Camp Nou on Sunday in their bid to close the gap on La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid who are two points ahead of the defending champions, having played a game more.

Barcelona scored four goals in their last match against Granada to amass 42 points, while Athletic Club haven’t won a league fixture since their 1-0 win against Celta Vigo last December. The Los Leones are on eighth position with twenty eight points, having won eight and lost seven matches.

Team News

Rafinha is the only absentee due to injury with adequate options available to Luis Enrique. Aritz Aduriz is suspended for the visitors while Ibai Gomez and Raul Garcia are sidelined through injuries.

Barcelona Possible Starting Lineup: Claudio Bravo, Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar.

Athletic Club Bilbao Possible Starting Lineup: Gorka Iraizoz, Eneko Boveda, Etxeita, Aymeric Laporte, Balenziaga, Benat, San Jose, De Marcos, Javier Eraso, Markel Susaeta, Inaki Williams.

Thoughts From Both Camps

“Athletic were the team who prevented us from being able to get the ‘sextet’ last year, so we already have a motivation. I’m expecting the same as always (from Athletic). Zero rest, zero concession and a lot of intensity. It’s a difficult game for both teams.The players already know what type of game it’s going to be.”

– Luis Enrique, Barcelona.

“Obviously we commit fouls, like anyone else, but our intention is to always to win the ball. They’re the better team on paper, but we know we’re a side that no one likes to face. If opponents want to beat us, they’re made to suffer first. It gives us confidence knowing that we’ve played excellently against them before. They won’t have enjoyed that.”

– San Jose, Athletic Club Bilbao.

Contributor’s Pick

According to Head-2-Head statistics, Barcelona have won four and lost just one of their last six matches against Athletic Club Bilbao. The Blaugrana are not only undefeated in nine of their last ten home games in the La Liga, but are also undefeated in twenty six out of twenty eight matches against tonight’s opponents in all competitions.

Not only has the Catalan club scored a minimum of two goals in their previous nine league fixtures, but have also kept a clean sheet in seven of those matches. Facing a depleted Athletic Bilbao side, Luis Enrique’s team are the hands down favorites and should emerge victorious, with 3-0 being the most probable scoreline.

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