Athletic Club vs Barcelona match preview and predictions for Wednesday’s LaLiga match. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as the hosts begin life under new management.
- DATE: Wednesday 6th January 2021
- KICK-OFF: 21:00 (local time)
- STADIUM: Camp Nou
- COMPETITION: LaLiga
Athletic Club vs Barcelona Preview
There is one midweek game in LaLiga this week and it features two sides who will be in Supercopa action next week. Barcelona travel to San Mames to take on an Athletic side that will be under the guidance of Marcelino for the first time after the Basque giants decided to dispense with the services of Gaizka Garitano.
Athletic are one of the more patient clubs in Spanish football and they rarely sack coaches in the middle of a season but rumours of Garitano’s imminent dismissal have been present for most of this campaign. Despite winning his final game against Elche, the 45 year old was sacked after just over two years at the helm with Athletic 9th in LaLiga, but only 5 points above the relegation zone.
This home fixture against Barcelona did provide two of the standout moments during the Garitano reign with Athletic beating the Catalans in league and cup last season. Overall though, the football under Garitano was often uninspiring and the opportunity to appoint a coach of Marcelino’s considerable calibre was clearly too good for the Athletic board to turn down.
The prospects of something of a reaction from Athletic, could make this an even trickier fixture for Barcelona. 10 points off the top of LaLiga and having played a game more than leaders Atleti, even a draw isn’t much use to Barcelona here if they want to retain serious title hopes this season.
A return of 14 points from their last 6 league games, does represent an improvement for Ronald Koeman’s side with a goal from Frenkie de Jong helping them see off Huesca in their most recent match. This is their second and perhaps toughest match of a sequence which sees them play four straight away league games and given Barca’s struggles on the road over the past 18 months, it’s clearly a very important period in their season.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 2 Athletic Wins, 2 Barcelona Wins, 2 Draws.
- Barcelona have failed to score on each of their last 3 visits to San Mames.
- They lost 1-0 here in league and cup last season.
- The last 5 meetings overall have produced a total of just 5 goals.
Athletic could go straight to Marcelino’s preferred 4-4-2 with Raul Garcia likely to drop out of the side. Yeray Álvarez and Unai López are out injured.
There are no new selection problems for Barcelona who may rotate slightly with Antoine Griezmann likely to come in.
Predicted Athletic Starting Lineup:
Simon – Berchiche, Martinez, Nunez, Capa – Muniain, Vesga, Vencedor, Berenguer – Williams, Villalibre (4-4-2)
Predicted Barcelona Starting Lineup:
Ter Stegen – Alba, Lenglet, Araujo, Dest – De Jong, Busquets, Pedri – Dembele, Griezmann, Messi (4-3-3)
Athletic vs Barcelona Predictions
Score Prediction: Athletic 1-1 Barcelona
It’s going to be really interesting to see how Athletic line up under Marcelino. He had great success at Valencia, often using a 4-4-2 formation and counter-attacking style. In Inaki Williams, he has a player who could be the focal point of that kind of attack but it may take some time for Athletic to adapt his methods.
Even with the under-pressure Garitano still at the helm, Athletic would have been strong contenders to get a result out of this game and they look capable of taking a point.
Athletic vs Barcelona Betting Tips (18+)
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