Barcelona coach Luis Enrique would have wanted his side to hit the ground running at the start of 2017, yet the Blaugrana are yet to claim a win in their two matches so far.
Sunday saw Lionel Messi salvage an injury time 1-1 draw at Villarreal in La Liga with a stunning free-kick, while last Thursday saw Barca beaten 2-1 in Bilbao in the first leg of their Copa del Rey clash. Athletic, therefore, head to Camp Nou with a slender advantage, although Ernesto Valverde will know that his side will surely have to score in Catalonia to have any chance of progressing.
Of course, if the visitors manage to score, Barca will have to score three to progress without extra time, and Valverde will be aware of the importance of trying to get on the scoresheet in Catalonia. The first leg should mean this game is more open than originally expected, with the onus on Enrique's men to force the issue, and that could offer opportunities to Bilbao on the break.
This competition holds great significance to the Basque side, who are the second most successful team in the history of the tournament (after Barca), and expect Athletic to field as strong a line-up as possible for the daunting trip. The red-hot favourites are also likely to field a first choice starting XI, meaning we should expect goals at the Camp Nou, with the hosts knowing they must score to stay in the comeptition.
Over 3.5 goals is offered at 4/5 (1.80), and this selection has paid out in both of the last two meetings between these two sides in the city of Barcelona.
Furthermore, Barca ended 2016 strongly, with three home wins, which brought 15 goals, and backing another high scoring game as the Blaugrana go for goals makes sense.