It should be a comfortable fixture for Barcelona when they travel to the San Mames Stadium to take on Athletic Bilbao. Ernesto Valverde will be hoping to brush aside the Basque club which he used to manage.
It was his managerial skills at that club which impressed his current employer and he has been hired to succeed Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp in this season and since then the Catalans have been on a fine run.
Valverde fielded a second string side in the Copa del Rey and the Spanish giants didn’t encounter any problems as they blanked Real Murcia to reach the next stage. The likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez didn’t play a part and will be fresh to start the proceedings in this match.
Athletic Bilbao had one of the worse starts possible as they have mustered just one win so far which came against Sevilla. Bilbao manager Cuco Ziganda has nothing to lose and would fancy a chance against the mighty Barcelona.
Predicted 4-3-3 Barcelona Starting Lineup Against Athletic Bilbao
Marc-André ter Stegen has been a true warrior for the Nou Camp outfit and will continue his progress in the Barcelona goal. The German international’s rise to prominence hasn’t gone unnoticed and he should see out this match with ease.
Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti have complemented well each other and Valverde is likely to unleash this pair to put a barrier to the Bilbao attack. Jordi Alba has recovered from his groin injury and should feature in this match.
Sergi Roberto will try to make his presence felt on the right side of the defence.
Sergio Busquets has galvanised the Barcelona midfield and will have to play an important role in this game. His impeccable presence at the base of the midfield has helped the other midfielders to up their ante. Despite the growing age, Andres Iniesta has remained a valuable part of the starting lineup an should start this match.
Ivan Rakitic has been inconsistent at times but if the Catalans are to take anything from this match, he needs to step up.
Gerard Deulofeu will be hoping to put an impressive showing in this match. He will operate from the left wing. Lionel Messi will start from the right side but will have the license to roam around the pitch.
Luis Suarez had a mixed season so far and will lead the attack. Here is how they might line up:
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