Barcelona vs Athletic Club predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups as the Ernesto Valverde’s side travel to Camp Nou.
|Sunday 23rd October 2022
|21:00 (local time)
Barcelona vs Athletic Club Preview
It’s Camp Nou this weekend for one of the most historic fixtures in LaLiga. There’s an extra subplot here as Ernesto Valverde makes his first return to Camp Nou and he is certainly no stranger to this game having coached both Barcelona and Athletic in it.
Valverde’s Barcelona tenure looks a lot better now than it did at the time with notable domestic successes under his guidance. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of reaction he gets at Camp Nou but he’ll certainly be focused on the task at hand which is a considerable one with the Catalans getting some important players back from injury now.
They were better in midweek, cruising to a 3-0 win over Villarreal, a strong response to the Inter games and the Clasico. Their mission over the next few weeks will be to stay in touch with Real Madrid who currently have a 3 point advantage and who have more favourable games between now and the World Cup. Their Champions League fate is now out of their own hands but Xavi won’t be throwing in the towel in that competition and we can expect the rotation to continue with Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele among those likely to return to the starting eleven here.
Athletic don’t exactly have the same luxuries when it comes to players of that quality to bring into their starting eleven. They are reliant on a quite consistent approach in terms of personnel and tactics, but they don’t have any European distractions so fatigue shouldn’t be a major problem for these Athletic players yet.
They will be hungry to show that their early season form, mostly against relatively weak opposition, wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Since hammering Almeria 4-0 at home, Athletic have only taken 2 points from 3 games with away draws at Sevilla and Getafe, either side of a home defeat against Atletico Madrid. They should certainly have taken more points from those games on the balance of play with some big chances missed at times.
Team News & Possible Lineups
Possible XI: Ter Stegen – Balde, Garcia, Kounde, Bellerin – Pedri, Busquets, Gavi – Raphinha, Lewandowski, Dembele (4-3-3)
Possible XI: Simon – Lekue, Yeray, Martinez, De Marcos – Dani Garcia, Sancet – Berenguer, Muniain, N. Williams – I. Williams (4-2-3-1)
Coach: Ernesto Valverde
Score Prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Athletic Club
Barcelona have Jules Kounde fit again and already the young Frenchman feels like a very important presence at the back for this team. We saw a positive response in a potentially tough game in midweek from Xavi’s team and they ought to back it up with three more points here.
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