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Primera División

  • March 31, 2012
  • • 21:00
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
  • • Attendance: 88027
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Barcelona - Athletic Bilbao Preview: Catalan giants look to extend Liga winning run to eight matches

Barcelona - Athletic Bilbao Preview: Catalan giants look to extend Liga winning run to eight matches

Dani Alves - Barcelona

After their heavyweight tussle with AC Milan in the Champions League, Pep Guardiola's side return to domestic action with a home encounter against the talented Basques


PROBABLE LINEUPS

BARCELONA

Valdes
Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Puyol
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Fabregas, Messi, Pedro

ATHLETIC BILBAO

Iraizoz
Iraola, Martinez, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe
De Marcos, Iturraspe, Herrera

 Susaeta, Llorente, Muniain


Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola could rest some of his stars with an eye on Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final decider against AC Milan when Athletic Bilbao visit Camp Nou on Saturday.

Adriano is still sidelined with a muscle injury for the Catalans, although fellow Brazilian Dani Alves is back from domestic suspension.

Thiago is available after the Spanish Football Federation overturned the second yellow card received by the midfielder against Mallorca, while long-term absentee Ibrahim Afellay has returned to training and has a chance of making the bench.

Mikel San Jose is back from suspension for Athletic Bilbao, who have a full squad to choose from for the trip to the Catalan capital.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Barcelona are on a seven-game winning streak in La Liga, outscoring their opponents 21-6 in those matches.
  • The Catalans are unbeaten in their last 32 home matches in La Liga and in their last 51 at Camp Nou in all competitions.
  • Lionel Messi (pictured right) has netted 18 goals in his last nine games for Barca.
  • Athletic Bilbao are on a four-game winless run in La Liga (D1, L3).
  • Los Leones have won just two of their last 11 Liga matches away from home.
  • Athletic's last victory at Camp Nou was a 2-1 success way back in November 2001.

Players to watch

Iniesta

Position: Midfielder

Games: 9

  • 0
  • 2
  • 0
The Spaniard has gone off the boil in recent weeks and was hooked midway through the second half at San Siro after struggling to make an impact against Milan. While the 27-year-old’s genius remains undisputed, he needs to step up his game with his team still in the hunt for three trophies at the business end of the season.

Iturraspe

Position: Midfielder

Games: 15

  • 2
  • 5
  • 0
The young Basque produced a typically energetic display in midfield as Athletic produced a stirring fightback to beat Schalke 4-2 in Germany, and his industry could again be key in breaking up the passing game of the Catalans and giving the visitors a foothold in midfield.

Editor's Prediction

After being frustrated in Italy, Barcelona will be keen to produce a response against Athletic and go in to Tuesday’s return leg against Milan on the back of a positive result. Fatigue, rather than Barca’s star-studded attack, could be the biggest enemy of the visitors, who come in to this match barely 48 hours after overcoming Schalke in the Europa League.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Barcelona

Athletic Club

Wins
3
1
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

FC Barcelona FCB
FC Barcelona Barcelona
Draw
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
Athletic Club Bilbao Athletic Club
78%

Top 3 Predictions

FC Barcelona FCB
3 - 1
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
FC Barcelona FCB
5 - 0
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
FC Barcelona FCB
3 - 0
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH

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