Barcelona will be looking to maintain their impressive La Liga form when they take on Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames Stadium on Sunday.
The Catalans are currently six points clear at the top despite having played a game less than second-placed Real Madrid.
Xavi’s men registered a slender 1-0 win over Valencia last weekend. Raphinha fired the opener in the 16th minute to put his side in control.
But Barca suffered a big blow early in the second-half after Ronald Araujo was dismissed for a professional foul on Hugo Duro.
However, despite being reduced to 10-men, the Blaugrana still held out for a 1-0 success.
On the other hand, Athletic Bilbao played out a goalless draw at Rayo Vallecano in their most recent La Liga match.
That was a relatively better result for Ernesto Valverde’s side who had entered the away contest on the back of three successive defeats in all competitions.
The Basque outfit suffered back-to-back losses to Atletico Madrid and Girona in the Spanish top-flight before picking up a disappointing 1-0 result at Osasuna in the first-leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie.
Athletic Club will host Los Rojillos at the San Mames Stadium for the second-leg early next month.
Ernesto Valverde’s side haven’t been very convincing this season, with the Basque outfit winning just nine of their 24 matches to be ninth in the league standings. They are currently enduring a disappointing run of form as they are winless in their previous three matches in the Spanish top-flight.
Bilbao have also managed to keep only one clean sheet in their last eight league games, conceding 12 goals in that period. They will face Barcelona this Sunday at the San Mames stadium, with the exciting match available to watch through the La Liga streams.
The Blaugrana made some huge investments in the summer transfer window, signing the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde. However, results on the pitch haven’t been very impressive.
Xavi’s side dropped down to the Europa League after they finished third in their Champions League group behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. However, they also failed to do well in Europe’s secondary club competition as they lost the knockout round play-offs tie to Manchester United on 4-3 aggregate.
Barcelona have spectacularly failed in Europe this season but the same cannot be said about their domestic campaign. They have been excellent in La Liga, winning 20 of their 24 games to collect 62 points. The Catalans haven’t won the league title for the last three seasons but they are highly likely to end that record this term.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona potential line-ups
Athletic Bilbao: Agirrezabala; De Marcos, Vivian, I Martinez, Lekue; Zarraga, Vesga; N Williams, Muniain, I Williams; Guruzeta
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, Christensen, Balde; F de Jong, Busquets, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona prediction
Barcelona will be missing some key players on Sunday. Pedri and Ousmane Dembele are close to making their full recoveries but they will not be available for selection this weekend. Ronald Araujo will be another absentee as he will be serving his suspension.
However, we are still backing Xavi’s men to come away with full points from the away encounter. The San Mames stadium hasn’t been an easy place for opponents this season and Bilbao are expected to provide a difficult contest. But despite key absences, Barca still have enough quality to come out on top this Sunday.
Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Barcelona
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