Ronald Koeman and Barcelona continue their search for some chemistry when they head to San Mames to face Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday night. The hosts are also searching for some consistency as they bid to climb the La Liga table in the new year.
Where and when: San Mames – 6 January, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona: Premier Sports
Last time: Ivan Rakitic scored the only goal of the game 20 minutes from time, as Barcelona beat Bilbao 1-0 at the Nou Camp in late June.
Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona Predictions and Preview
This has been a tight and hard-fought fixture over recent seasons. The last three meetings between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona have finished 1-0 to the home team, with a La Liga victory apiece and a win for Bilbao in the Copa del Rey. The two meetings before that both ended all square.
A 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp in September 2018 was the last time both teams have scored in a clash between these two sides. Betting against BTTS here could be the way to go once again, while another 1-0 home win could also be a shrewd bet given Barcelona’s struggles this season.
The Catalan giants are some way off the title reckoning at present, with a sizeable gap to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid. Worse still, star man Lionel Messi has an ankle injury which is set to keep him out of this game, with Barca looking short on ideas and quality in the final third in his absence.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
Athletic Bilbao to win to nil
Athletic Bilbao to win 1-0
Williams to score first
Moreover, stalwart and calming influence Gerard Pique is also injured, along with teenage sensation and exciting prospect Ansu Fati. With Philippe Coutinho and Sergi Roberto further injury doubts, Koeman’s options are limited to many of the players who’ve failed to shine this season and last.
Athletic Club, meanwhile, have a cleaner bill of health coming into this fixture. Yeray Alvarez and Asier Villalibre are expected to be the only absentees for this Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona preview. That ought to give Gaizka Garitano and his players some optimism heading into a tough assignment, despite their visitors’ struggles.
Optimism was hard to come by for Bilbao from the end of November up to Christmas, following a run of only one victory in six games, which came against bottom club Huesca. Beating Barcelona would be the perfect tonic to the home team’s ills.
One to watch for Athletic Bilbao: Bilbao need Raul Garcia to rediscover his goalscoring form of last season. The Spanish midfielder scored 15 times in La Liga last but has only managed one so far this term.
One to watch for Barcelona: As Antoine Griezmann continues to toil in a Barcelona shirt, the Frenchman’s poor form is vindicating Lionel Messi’s belief he wasn’t suited to the club. Griezmann is desperate for a big performance here.
Long shot: There hasn’t been away win in this fixture since Barcelona won 2-0 at San Mames in October 2017. Bilbao have won 1-0 the last two times they’ve played in the Basque Country, with the same result here well worth a look. Adding top scorer Inaki Williams getting the goal will increase your odds significantly.