Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona predictions, H2H and match preview for this Friday’s season curtain-raiser in La Liga. Read on for analysis and predicted line-ups as the champions begin their title defence.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Preview
After a long summer of transfer speculation and confusion over the staging of Friday and Monday games, La Liga is finally ready to get underway. It does so on a Friday night following a court ruling last week and it’s a fitting season opener with the champions heading to a San Mames, always one of the loudest and most passionate grounds in La Liga.
Athletic have had a quiet summer. Their Basque only policy is always an extremely limiting factor in terms of what they can do in the transfer market. However there were options at their disposal this time around although they ultimately opted against any move for old boys Ander Herrera and free agent Fernando Llorente. They have though tied star forward Inaki Williams down to a staggering nine year contract, a timely boost heading into the new campaign.
There has been more going on at Camp Nou although a deal for Frenkie de Jong was agreed well before last season ended and the suspicion is that the same went for the Antoine Griezmann transfer. Both should make their competitive Barca debuts at San Mames with the duo the only likely regular starters that the club have signed during the off-season although Barca continue to be linked with a move for Neymar with the Spanish transfer window still open for another few weeks.
The first game of the new season is set to take place without the league’s best player though. Leo Messi is struggling with a calf problem so Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele should start either side of Luis Suarez in attack for the Catalans. That’s clearly a boost to Athletic’s chances of getting something out of the game and the hosts should be at full strength providing Inigo Martinez can shake off a minor niggle.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Predictions
Score Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Athletic have been very tough to play against at San Mames ever since Gaizka Garitano was appointed the new coach last autumn. They are unbeaten in 14 home league matches heading into this one and with Messi almost certainly missing, they will fancy they can get a result. They are sure to make this a physical contest and may attempt to play the kind of high tempo, pressing game that has given Barca problems in recent years so the defending champions may struggle to get their season off to a winning start against a side they failed to beat last term.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona H2H
- Last 6 meetings: 4 Barcelona Wins, 2 Draws.
- Both league meetings last term finished level – 0-0 at San Mames and 1-1 at Camp Nou.
- Barcelona have won on 4 of their last 6 competitive visits to Bilbao overall.
- Their only defeat during that spell came against 9-man Athletic in a Copa del Rey tie in early 2017.
Predicted Line Ups
Herrerin – Yuri, Martinez, Yeray, Capa – Dani Garcia, Etxebarria – Muniain, Raul Garcia, Ibai Gomez – Williams (4-2-3-1)
ter Stegen – Alba, Lenglet, Pique, Semedo – Busquets, de Jong, Rakitic – Griezmann, Suarez, Dembele (4-3-3)
Preview via Mark Sochon – Contact: email@example.com | @marksoc1