Barcelona are looking to keep up their hard-earned momentum in La Liga as they host Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp on Sunday night. It’s a rerun of the Spanish Super Cup final from just a couple of weeks ago, and could be another feisty affair.
Where and when: Nou Camp – 31 January, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao: Premier Sports, Bet365 live streaming
Last time: Athletic Club recovered twice from falling behind to Antoine Griezmann strikes to force extra-time in the Supercopa de Espana earlier this month. Inaki Williams scored the winner in a 3-2 triumph for Bilbao, before Lionel Messi saw red in the dying stages for lashing out at Asier Villalibre.
Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao Predictions and Preview
Messi is available again after serving a two-match ban for that sending off, and the Argentine will no doubt be desperate to fire Barcelona to a revenge-fuelled victory over Athletic Bilbao this weekend. Barca have struggled against Los Leones in recent seasons though, and this will be no walk in the park for the hosts.
Athletic Club have arrested a poor run of form against Barcelona in recent seasons, only losing two of their last seven games against the Catalan giants. Bilbao have won three of those matches – one in La Liga, one in the Copa del Rey and the other in the recent Spanish Super Cup final.
Given Barca beat Bilbao nine times in a row in La Liga prior to that, and Los Leones only won three of the previous 37 meetings, it’s been an impressive turnaround. However, Barcelona have hit some form of late, as they continue to adapt to Ronald Koeman’s methods.
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Barcelona to win and BTTS
Barcelona to win 3-2
Messi to score first
The Dutch coach has guided his team to four straight victories in La Liga, with Barca keeping three clean sheets in the process. The Blaugrana are unbeaten in nine in the league, winning seven, and beat Bilbao 3-2 at San Mames less than two weeks before their Supercopa de Espana encounter.
The home team are the 2/5 favourites with William Hill to complete the league double over the Basque outfit in this Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao preview. The visitors are 7/1, while you can back the draw on Sunday night at 17/4.
However, Bilbao have only drawn three times so far this season, through their first 19 fixtures of the league campaign. Marcelino’s side have already lost nine times, and are struggling badly for consistency. Athletic haven’t won back-to-back games in La Liga since March of last year, while you need to go back to late 2019 to find their most recent run of three straight victories.
Los Leones may have beaten Getafe 5-1 on Monday night, but the visitors will find their hosts this weekend a much tougher proposition. It’s hard to see them getting anything out of a game which Barcelona simply have to win to keep their slim title hopes alive.
One to watch for Barcelona: Lionel Messi will be fired up for this game, and Barca’s No.10 should be nice and fresh following his enforced break from action. The Argentine is the 3/1 favourite to open the scoring in these Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao predictions.
One to watch for Athletic Bilbao: Inaki Williams won the Super Cup for Bilbao in extra-time, and also opened the scoring inside the first few minutes when the teams met in La Liga just before that. He is 11/1 to break the deadlock once again this weekend.
Long shot: Each of the last two meetings between these sides have ended 3-2, albeit with the Super Cup clash seeing its fifth and final goal in extra-time. Even so, Barcelona are 21/1 to repeat their 3-2 success against Bilbao from a weeks ago in La Liga, rising to 80/1 with Messi scoring first.