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Primera División

  • November 6, 2011
  • • 19:00
  • • Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
  • Referee: José Luis Paradas Romero
  • • Attendance: 40000
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La Liga Preview: Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona

La Liga Preview: Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona

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The Catalan giants travel to the Basque country to face Marcelo Bielsa's side in Sunday night La Liga action


PROBABLE LINEUPS

ATHLETIC BILBAO


Iraizoz
Iraola, Martinez, Dominguez, Aurtenetxe
Iturraspe, De Marcos, Ander
Susaeta, Llorente, Muniain


BARCELONA


Valdes
Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Messi, Fabregas, Villa


David Lopez is doubtful for Athletic after spraining a ligament in his right ankle. Borja Ekiz recently recovered from from a similar sprain in his right ankle.

Oscar De Marcos has just returned from a shoulder injury and featured in his side's 1-0 away win over Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday.

Pedro is still recovering from a knee injury and trained apart from his team-mates on Friday. Ibrahim Afellay is still a long-term absentee due to a knee cruciate ligament injury.

Alexis Sanchez returned from injury in the Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen and should be in the squad to face Athletic.

Pep Guardiola has the rest of his squad at his disposal for the trip to San Mames.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • The last time Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao met was in February, when goals from David Villa and Lionel Messi ensured a 2-1 victory for Pep Guardiola's side.
  • Athletic have had a mixed record at home so far in La Liga, with 2 wins, 2 draws, and a loss.
  • Athletic have scored just under half the amount of goals that Barca have notched up in the league so far, with 15 goals to 32.
  • In Barcelona's midweek 4-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen, Victor Valdes set the record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal for his side. He has gone 787 minutes and counting without letting anything past him.
  • Lionel Messi has scored six goals in his last 180 minutes of football.
  • Messi scored a hat-trick in his last match for Barcelona, taking his goal tally for the Catalan side beyond the double-century barrier to 202 in 286 appearances.

Players to watch

Llorente

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Nine goals so far this season for the Spanish international - he is Athletic's most effective attacking threat. It is not very often that the Barca defence has to deal with the quality of a striker like Llorente so the home side must look to get the ball into the feet of the striker so he can hold it up in order to introduce supporting team-mates into the match. If the Basque outfit can do this, they will create chances against Barcelona.

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 20

  • 21
  • 3
  • 0
202 goals for Barcelona and Lionel Messi is showing no signs of taking his foot off the gas. Two hat-tricks in his last two games proves his truly scintillating recent form and Athletic will be aware of the threat he possesses. If Marcelo Bielsa's side are to get anything from this match, they must hope that Messi has an off-night or they must somehow negate the threat of the Argentine maestro.

Editor's Prediction

The last three encounters between Athletic and Barcelona have been very close games. The Catalan side won the last instalment 2-1 but two tight draws preceded that match and expect it to be much the same this time around. The San Mames crowd will be fully behind their team as the champions come to visit, but with Lionel Messi particularly in the form he is in, Barca may just get the win. However, with the attacking quality of Llorente and Muniain in attack, Athletic certainly have the quality to score against Barcelona.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Athletic Club

Barcelona

Wins
1
1
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

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