thumbnail Hello,
Live

Primera División

  • April 20, 2014
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera
  • • Attendance: 57090
2
FT
1

La Liga Preview: Barcelona - Athletic Bilbao

La Liga Preview: Barcelona - Athletic Bilbao

The Catalans are still reeling after being knocked out of the Champions League, seeing their Primera Division hopes suffer a massive blow and then losing the Copa del Rey final.

Barcelona will be desperate to put a nightmare week behind it when it faces Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou in La Liga on Sunday.

Gerardo Martino's side has lost its last three games to leave its hopes of a treble in tatters and pile pressure on the Argentine.

Last Wednesday's 1-0 reverse at Atletico Madrid sealed a 2-1 aggregate defeat in the Champions League quarterfinals, with Barca going on to lose 1-0 at Granada last weekend, denting its title hopes.

And Catalan misery was compounded on Wednesday with Gareth Bale's late wondergoal securing a 2-1 scoreline and the Copa del Rey for Real Madrid.

The Granada defeat leaves Barca four points behind Atletico and one behind Real although, with the latter not in action this weekend, a win could heap pressure on Carlo Ancelotti's men as the title race enters its final stages.

Despite Barca's stuttering form, Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde is expecting a tough test.

He said: "I do not know if it is better or worse for us, but this week now La Liga is the only trophy Barca can win.

"The game is difficult, even if they have lost out on two trophies in a week.

"Maybe now they feel more pressure to break the bad run after losing three consecutive games, something they are not used to. But for us it is just as difficult."

Martino has a number of injury problems to contend with ahead of the meeting with Bilbao.

Neymar and Jordi Alba will miss a month of action with respective metatarsal and hamstring injuries.

Marc Bartra, who was spectacularly out-paced by Bale for Real's Copa winner, should be available after suffering a hamstring strain of his own.

Carles Puyol (knee) may return, but Gerard Pique's cracked hip rules him out and Sergio Busquets is suspended.

After such a detrimental run of results, Barca will be determined to return to winning ways, but it will not be easy against a Bilbao side which looks the favorite to pick up La Liga's fourth available Champions League spot.

Valverde's charges currently lie six points clear of Sevilla, their nearest challengers for fourth place, and have lost just three of their previous 21 league outings.

Their last defeat on the road came on January 5, 2-0 against Basque rivals Real Sociedad, and with only five games left they will be looking for a result at Camp Nou that will help them hold off Sevilla.

Like Barca, Bilbao has injury worries of its own with Mikel Rico (ankle) and Ibai Gomez (hamstring) both major doubts, but Valverde will be praying for a repeat of the reverse fixture in December, when Iker Muniaian's goal ended a winless run of 20 matches in all competitions against the Catalan giants.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
La Liga ‎(LIGA)‎ Sep 13, 2014 Barcelona 2 - Athletic Bilbao 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
La Liga ‎(LIGA)‎ Apr 20, 2014 Barcelona 2 - Athletic Bilbao 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
La Liga ‎(LIGA)‎ Dec 1, 2013 Athletic Bilbao 1 - Barcelona 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
La Liga ‎(LIGA)‎ Apr 27, 2013 Athletic Bilbao 2 - Barcelona 2
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
La Liga ‎(LIGA)‎ Dec 1, 2012 Barcelona 5 - Athletic Bilbao 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
15BartraDefender
21AdrianoDefender
22Daniel AlvesDefender
6XaviMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
25Alex SongMidfielder
7PedroStriker
9Alexis SánchezStriker
10Lionel MessiStriker
-OierGoalkeeper
2MontoyaDefender
-Sergi GómezDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
20Ibrahim AfellayMidfielder
20Sergi RobertoMidfielder
37TelloStriker
1IraizozGoalkeeper
4Aymeric LaporteDefender
6San JoséDefender
24BalenziagaDefender
5Erik MoránMidfielder
8IturraspeMidfielder
14SusaetaMidfielder
21Ander HerreraMidfielder
10Óscar De MarcosMidfielder
19MuniainStriker
20Aritz Aduriz ZubeldiaStriker
13IagoGoalkeeper
-AlbizuaDefender
15Andoni IraolaDefender
16EtxeitaDefender
7BeñatMidfielder
17Mikel RicoMidfielder
2ToqueroStriker

From the web

From the web