|Athletic Club vs Barça. Image: FCB
FC Barcelona look to return to the top of La Liga by making it two wins from two in 2016/2017 when they make a tough trip to Basque to take on Athletic Bilbao at the New San Mames on Sunday evening.
Luis Enrique’s men will be looking to continue their fine away form in the league against the Basque outfits on Sunday but will have to do it without their Captain Andres Iniesta. The Spaniard is still out with a knee injury and didn’t make it into Luis Enrique’s 18-man squad for the game
against Ernesto Velverde’s men. He is also joined by Jeremy Mathieu in the sidelines.
Luis Enrique will be happy as he welcomes goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen back to his squad after the German missed the club’s first three games of the season through an injury while Rafinha and Andre Gomes also return.
Barcelona won in this fixture last season, getting a hard-earned 1-0 win at the start of last season but the game on Sunday will surely be a different ball game entirely irrespective of the fact that Athletic made no major transfer acquisition this summer. The club lost their first game of the season away against Sporting Gijon last week and will be desperate to get something for the fans at the San Mames. The fact is that every game at the San Mames is not an easy one.
Barça will however come into the game with full confidence following their comfortable 6-2 mauling of Real Betis at the Camp Nou in their first Liga game of the season. The Catalans will be hoping duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are at their best for the game as they will be crucial in their bid to see out their opponents at the San Mames.
ATHLETIC BILBAO VS FC BARCELONA – LA LIGA
Date: Sunday, August 28, 2016
Time: 8:15pm CET
Venue: San Mames, Bilbao
Referee: Mateu Lahoz
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
Barcelona 3-1 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Barcelona
Barcelona 6-0 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Barcelona
Barcelona 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
FC BARCELONA: WWW
ATHLETIC BILBAO: L
Possible Barcelona Lineup: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba; Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andre Gomes; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Arda Turan;
Possible Athletic Bilbao Lineup: Gorka Iraizoz; De Marcos, Boveda, Aymeric Laporte, Balenziaga; San Jose, Benat; Inaki Williams, Raul Garcia, Susaeta; Aritz Aduriz.
BarcaLens Prediction: It definitely won’t be an easy game, Barça will suffer to get the result they want but if we see the same Messi as against Betis then it’d be 86 times easier. I think we’re likely to see that so I take Athletic Bilbao 1-3 Barcelona.