Barcelona will look to keep pace with the La Liga frontrunners when they travel to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday at 8:00pm (UK time).
The Blaugrana currently sit fifth in the table, one and two points adrift of Villarreal and Real Sociedad respectively, though they have played fewer games than both. Bilbao, meanwhile, are ninth but can cut the gap between themselves and Wednesday’s visitors to just four points with a win here.
Where to watch Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona on TV:
- UK: LaLigaTV
- US: beIN Sports
How to live stream Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona online:
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Scoreline prediction: Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Barcelona
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Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Despite recovering from their Basque derby loss to Real Sociedad with a 1-0 win over Elche, Athletic Bilbao parted ways with manager Gaizka Garitano at the weekend, with Marcelino immediately taking his place. The former Valencia boss’ task between now and the end of the season will be to push Athletic up into European contention and a win here would go a long way toward that with just 17 games played so far.
Ronald Koeman, meanwhile, is also swimming in dangerous waters at the Nou Camp. Although Barcelona are now unbeaten in their last six La Liga matches, they’ve only managed more than two goals on one occasion during that time and have endured disappointing draws at home to Valencia and Eibar. As a result, Barca are fifth in the table, a massive 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who also have a game in hand over the Catalan giants.
- Athletic Bilbao (vs Elche): Simon; De Marcos, Nunez, Martinez, Berchiche; Vencedor, Vesga; Williams, Muniain, Berenguer; Garcia.
- Barcelona (vs Huesca): Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Messi, Braithwaite, Dembele.
Peru Nolaskoain, Yeray Alvarez and Unai Lopez are all out for Bilbao, while Barcelona will continue on without Ansu Fati, Sergi Robeto, Gerard Pique and Philippe Coutinho.
Players to watch:
- Athletic Bilbao: One of Marcelino’s first tasks in the Bilbao dugout will be to squeeze more out of star forward, Inaki Williams. Despite being the club’s joint-top scorer this season, Williams has managed just three goals in 17 La Liga appearances so far, and has found the net only once in his last nine outings. This can be partially explained by Williams being fielded as a central striker, when perhaps an inside forward role would suit him better. That’s for Marcelino to try and test, starting with the visit of Barcelona.
- Barcelona: For a while, it looked as though he wouldn’t reach the milestone (due to doubts over his future) but Lionel Messi became the first-ever non-Spanish player to notch up 500 La Liga appearances during Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Huesca recently. The Argentine ace was unable to score, but did mark the occasion with an assist, his 200th in the competition. In fact, that was Messi’s fourth direct goal involvement (two goals, two assists) in his last four league outings and his ninth (seven goals, two assists) of the La Liga season overall. Not bad considering he was meant to be suffering from a dip in form. Messi has a massive 24 goals and 10 assists to his name across 37 career appearances against Bilbao, Koeman will be banking on him adding to that here.
La Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Athletic Bilbao: WLDWL
- Barcelona: WDWDW
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