Football   |   January 20, 2022

Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona – Team News, Starting Lineups, and Prediction

The Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona clash is one of the most exciting matchups in this Copa del Rey round. With this in mind, we’ve put up a comprehensive overview of the action for you. 

On Thursday evening, Athletic Bilbao and Barca will face off in the Copa del Rey, with a place in the competition’s quarter-finals on the line at San Mames.

Both teams have recently competed in the Spanish Super Cup, with Barcelona succumbing to Los Blancos in the competition’s semi-finals and Athletic losing to Carlo Ancelotti’s men in the final.

Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona Team News

Athletic Bilbao came dangerously to retain their Spanish Super Cup championship over the weekend. The Basque side knocked out Atletico Madrid inside the semi-finals. However, Real Madrid proved too strong in the final. Athletic Bilbao is 9th in the La Liga and has been rather erratic. Nonetheless, the club remains upbeat ahead of its Copa del Rey clash with Barcelona.

Following a loss against Real Madrid, Barcelona approaches this encounter inside the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals. However, they did lose extra time. Therefore, you could argue that the team did not perform terribly. Barcelona is sixth in the league, with three draws, two wins, and one defeat in their previous six games.

How Athletic Bilbao and Barca Could Line Up in Copa del Rey Action

Athletic Bilbao will be without Unai Vencedor, Unai Nunez, and Asier Villalibre in the Copa del Rey match against the holders on Thursday.

Marcelino is also anticipated to make many changes to his best side, with players Peru Nolaskoain, Julen Agirrezabala, and Nico Serrano having potential early opportunities.

Nico Williams scored a brace in the previous round against Mancha Real and could win another debut, with Iker Muniain, Inaki Williams, and Dani Garcia expected to be among the home side’s replacements.

Barcelona manager Xavi is anticipated to change his starting lineup in Thursday’s Copa del Rey last-16 match against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

Eric Garcia, Samuel Umtiti, and Sergi Roberto will all miss the match due to injuries, while Martin Braithwaite is still a question for the Catalans owing to a knee problem.

Ansu Fati might start as a substitute against the Los Blancos in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals. However, Pedri is likely to be among the replacements, with Xavi unlikely to risk the midfielder’s health.

Clement Lenglet, Nico Gonzalez, and Oscar Mingueza might all be included in the starting lineup, while Neto is expected to make a rare start in goal for the visiting squad.

Memphis Depay – who has been linked with a transfer from Camp Nou – may have to accept a bench seat once more, with Luuk de Jong expected to lead the line.

Ferran Torres might make his second debut for Barca in the last third of the pitch, with Ousmane Dembele’s future unknown.

Riqui Puig, Ferran Jutgla, and Abde Ezzalzouli will all try to gain chances for the Catalan giants during the Copa del Rey match.

A. Bilbao Probable Starting Lineup:

Agirrezabala; Alex, Lekue, Martinez, Vivian; Nolaskoain, Serrano, Vesga, Williams; Berenguer, & Garcia

Barca Probable Starting Lineup:

Neto; Alba, Alves, Lenglet, Mingueza; Busquets, Nico, Frenkie de Jong; Torres, Fati, & Luuk de Jong

Free Betting Predictions & Tips: Barcelona Favorites to Win & Over 2.5 Total Goals

If you’re unsure which bet to make on Athletic Bilbao versus Barcelona, here are some of our favorite predictions for this match:

While the two sides are not dissimilar in terms of form or even La Liga rankings, Barcelona is the superior squad theoretically. Barcelona is the game’s favorite.

As a result, with Bilbao having played two games in the Super Cup over the weekend and Blaugrana one, we expect the visitors to be fitter for this encounter. In any event, we forecast Barcelona will defeat Athletic Bilbao, as they have done in three of their past five head-to-head meetings.

Athletic Bilbao and Barça have scored more than 2.5 goals in four of their last five head-to-head games, with the clubs averaging 3.80 goals per match in the five meetings.

As a result, we anticipate seeing some goals in this clash. After all, Barcelona scored an average of 2.70 goals per game in La Liga this season. Athletic Bilbao has registered 1.76 goals per game this season thus far. 

It’s tough to predict what to anticipate on Thursday since both managers are expected to make changes to their starting lineups. Barcelona’s roster is beginning to appear much healthier following their injury woes, and we anticipate the Catalan giants to make it to the competition’s quarter-finals. Our prediction is Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Barcelona.