Athletic Club vs Barcelona predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups ahead of this showdown in Bilbao.
|Sunday 12th March 2023
Athletic Club vs Barcelona Preview
Barcelona visit San Mames this weekend with the Sunday night showdown in Bilbao the pick of the weekend games in LaLiga. The Catalans are 9 points clear at the top heading into this matchday but that could still quickly change with this tough fixture followed immediately by El Clasico next weekend.
Athletic Club may not be at their most convincing right now but they are always a tough opponent for any team at San Mames on a big night like this. Having lost 5 of their last 8 in LaLiga, Athletic could certainly do with a positive result as their season is in danger of meandering to a disappointing conclusion unless they can rediscover some of their best form.
We saw plenty of positives from Athletic earlier on this term but it feels like Ernesto Valverde isn’t quite sure what he wants from his side right now. He has experimented with different options in attack and has altered the shapeup of his midfield but the balance still isn’t quite right. Oihan Sancet’s suspension creates another issue here, although in some ways it may make things easier for the Athletic boss with Iker Muniain easier to fit into the side in the absence of the young midfielder.
Barcelona boss Xavi will also have some selection decisions to make. Robert Lewandowski should be fit to start but Pedri and Ousmane Dembele remain sidelined through injury while Ronald Araujo’s suspension could also be a big factor here. They will be someway off full strength as a result but the Catalans have mostly managed to keep churning out the wins.
It’s ten victories by a 1-0 margin for Barcelona this season in all competitions. It may not be quite how many Barca fans envisaged their path back to the top would go but for now they’ll surely be willing to accept a bit more substance and a bit less style. This will be a battle too but they’ll be hoping their defence can once again hold firm with only 8 goals conceded so far this term in LaLiga.
Team News & Possible Lineups
|Simon, Yuri, De Marcos
Possible XI: Agirrezabala – Yuri, Inigo Martinez, Yeray, De Marcos – Vesga, Dani Garcia – Berenguer, Muniain, N. Williams – I. Williams (4-2-3-1)
Coach: Ernesto Valverde
Possible XI: Ter Stegen – Balde, Christensen, Kounde, Roberto – Kessie, Busquets, De Jong – Gavi, Lewandowski, Raphinha (4-3-3)
Score Prediction: Athletic Club 1-1 Barcelona
This should be a competitive affair and the absences of Pedri and Ronald Araujo are significant and should give Athletic a fighting chance. Araujo’s absence is likely to make Barcelona less solid defensively with set pieces and counter attacks offering Athletic a potential route to a goal and the hosts will fancy they can get a result.
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