Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona predictions, H2H and match preview for this Thursday’s game in the Copa del Rey. Read on for analysis and predicted line-ups as the Catalans return to the scene of an early season defeat.
by Mark Sochon – @marksoc1
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Preview
It has been another very eventful week in the circus that is FC Barcelona with Leo Messi making a rare public statement to disagree with the views expressed by sporting director Eric Abidal in a recent interview. It’s beneath that storm that Barça head to San Mames for a really tough Copa del Rey Quarter-Final against Athletic Club this Thursday.
Gaizka Garitano’s Athletic have already defeated Barcelona this season on this ground. The very first match of the 2019/20 season was settled by a brilliant late goal from Aritz Aduriz. While the veteran forward has seldom featured since, Athletic remain a tough nut to crack on their own patch. Prior to Sunday’s game with Getafe, they’d only lost one home league game in over a year since Garitano’s appointment but a 2-0 defeat to the South Madrid side does send them into this match on a bit of a sour note.
Barcelona meanwhile have won 4 of their 5 matches since appointing Quique Setien. That certainly doesn’t tell the whole story though with a series of unconvincing performances in games the Catalans would have expected to win comfortably. This game, as well as Sunday’s trip to Betis in La Liga, should shed more light on whether Barcelona are starting to adapt to Setien’s ideas.
Lionel Messi is somebody who is far more used to doing his talking on the pitch and it would be no surprise if he came up with a big performance here on the back of what has happened this week. However a packed San Mames is more than capable of making this loud and hostile and Barcelona will be well aware that they will need to up their recent level if they are going to get through this tie.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Predictions
Score Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Athletic should be at full strength here and they will give this a real go with their hopes of European qualification through La Liga starting to fade. With the exception of their easy home win over an under-strength Leganes in the last round, there have been serious flaws in all of Barça’s displays so far under Setien and they were well beaten by Valencia in the only genuinely tough game they’ve had so far since the coaching switch.
This certainly falls into that category and Athletic look capable of causing an upset here although it feels like the kind of week where Messi might just produce a moment of magic at some point in the game. This could go the distance with Extra Time and penalties potentially on the cards.
Copa del Rey Betting Tips (18+)
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Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona H2H
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 1 Athletic Win, 3 Barcelona Wins, 2 Draws.
- Athletic were 1-0 winners when the sides met at San Mames in the opening game of this season.
- Barcelona have only won on 1 of their last 4 visits to this ground and were beaten 2-1 here in the Copa del Rey in 2017, although did still progress from that two-legged tie.
- There have been two or fewer goals in all of the last five meetings between the clubs.
Predicted Line Ups
Simon – Yuri, Martinez, Yeray, Capa – Dani Garcia, Lopez – Cordoba, Raul Garcia, Muniain – Williams (4-2-3-1)
Ter Stegen – Alba, Lenglet, Pique, Semedo – Arthur, Busquets, De Jong – Fati, Griezmann, Messi (4-3-3)
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 5, 2020