Barcelona - Athletic Bilbao Preview: Unbeaten Blaugrana will look to make La Liga history
Tito Vilanova's side have equalled the best ever start to a domestic campaign and could go one better with a win over their struggling Basque visitors
By Karthick Arvinth
Montoya, Pique, Puyol, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas
Pedro, Messi, Iniesta
De Marcos, Ekiza, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe
Herrera, Iturraspe, Muniain
Susaeta, Aduriz, Gomez
Barcelona defender Dani Alves will miss Saturday's Primera Division encounter against Athletic Bilbao with a hamstring injury.
Alexis Sanchez, Marc Bartra and Isaac Cuenca all remain sidelined, while Adriano (illness) is a doubt.
Athletic Bilbao are set to be without right-back Andoni Iraola, who suffered a muscle injury during training.
Coach Marcelo Bielsa will make wholesale changes to the side that beat Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the rearranged Europa League match on Wednesday.
Midfielder Carlos Gurpegui is still out but striker Aritz Aduriz returns after a one-match ban.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona have won 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
- The Catalans will make the best ever start in the Spanish league's 113-year history with a win over Athletic Bilbao, overhauling Real Madrid's record set in 1991-92.
- David Villa (pictured, right) scored his 300th career goal in the 3-1 Copa del Rey win over Alaves.
- Athletic Bilbao have won just four of their last 16 matches in all competitions (W4, D5, L7).
- Los Leones have lost five of their last seven meetings with Barcelona, including last season's Copa del Rey final.
- Athletic's last Liga win over Barca was a 3-1 home success in May 2006.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Barcelona 3-0 Athletic Bilbao
- 16.85 %
FC Barcelona 3-1 Athletic Bilbao
- 12.63 %
FC Barcelona 4-0 Athletic Bilbao
- 12.09 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Dec 1, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 1 - FC Barcelona 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 27, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 2 - FC Barcelona 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Dec 1, 2012||FC Barcelona 5 - Athletic Bilbao 1|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||May 25, 2012||Athletic Bilbao 0 - FC Barcelona 3|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Mar 31, 2012||FC Barcelona 2 - Athletic Bilbao 0|
|Mar 8, 2014||Valladolid 1 - FC Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|Mar 2, 2014||FC Barcelona 4 - Almeria 1||LIGA|
|Feb 22, 2014||Real Sociedad 3 - FC Barcelona 1||LIGA|
|Feb 18, 2014||Manchester City FC 0 - FC Barcelona 2||UCL|
|Feb 15, 2014||FC Barcelona 6 - Rayo Vallecano 0||LIGA|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|10||Óscar De Marcos||Midfielder|
|20||Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia||Striker|
|13||Raúl Fernández Mateos||Goalkeeper|
|6||Mikel San José Domínguez||Defender|
|26||Igor Martínez Caseras||Midfielder|
|Andrés Iniesta Luján|
The 28-year-old was in imperious form last weekend as he scored one and set up three in a 4-0 win over Levante. With Alexis Sanchez still absent through injury, Iniesta will be relied upon to provide guile and creativity in the final third of the pitch.
While yet to hit the dizzy heights of last season, the Pamplona-born winger remains a major threat on the counterattack. Muniain will look to get the better of Martin Montoya down the left flank and open his Liga account for the season.
Barcelona are flying at the moment, while Athletic are struggling to pick up points away from home. All signs point to a banker home win.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed