Friday, January 28, 2022

Barcelona Vs Athletic Bilbao Preview: Team News, Talking Tactics And Key Men

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Barcelona will play host to their old foes, Athletic Club de Bilbao on Sunday evening at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona. This Matchday 21 clash presents Barcelona with the perfect opportunity to avenge the defeat they suffered at the hands of the same opposition in the Supercopa de Espana final a couple of weeks ago. The Cules are placed 3rd in the points table and will seek to bridge the gap between themselves and Real Madrid this weekend. On the other hand, Atheltic Bilbao are placed in the second half of the points table and will want to get their act together if they want to secure any of the European spots.

Team News


The Catalan side have struggled with injuries this season and will be heading into this fixture with a decent chunk of their squad missing. The likes of Ansu Fati, Sergino Dest, Gerard Pique, Philippe Coutinho and Moussa Wague are all ruled out of the fixture with their respective injuries. Sergio Busquets will also be missing from action due to his suspension.

Predicted XI for BarcelonaTer Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Pjanic, Pedri; Griezmann, Messi, Dembele

Athletic Bilbao

The Basque side boast of a very deep squad this season and will be without the services of at least four players on Sunday. Peru Nolaskoain, Iñigo Martínez, Mikel Balenziaga and Iñigo Vicente are not expected to be a part of proceedings at the Camp Nou Stadium.

Predicted XI for Athletic Bilbao – Simon; Capa, Alvarez, Nunez, Berchiche; De Marcos, Vencedor, D Garcia, Muniain; Williams, R Garcia

Barcelona Vs Athletic Bilbao Tactical Preview

Barcelona Vs Athletic Bilbao Tactical Preview
Athletic Bilbao’s Spanish forward Asier Villalibre (L) celebrates his goal during the Spanish Super Cup final football match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao at La Cartuja stadium in Seville on January 17, 2021. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP) (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

Barcelona Vs Athletic Bilbao Tactical Preview

Talking Tactics


The Catalans have been in red hot form lately with four consecutive victories in La Liga against Elche, Huesca, Athletic Bilbao and Granada. Koeman will want his side to stick to the basics and get the job done at the Camp Nou stadium. Barcelona have been braced by the return of Lionel Messi and the tactics from Koeman will be centred around the Argentine attacker. The Cules will have to be tight and compact in defence in order to have a positive result.

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao have reached their element lately with an inspiring performance in the Spanish Supercup, beating Real Madrid and Barcelona in the space of 5 days. The Basque side would want to keep things as simple as possible on Sunday. They are certainly aware of their own capabilities as well as their opponents’ who they have faced at least twice in the past 3 weeks or so. Bilbao would be more than happy to sit back and defend if they are able to take an early lead in the game.

Key Men


Lionel Messi will certainly be Barcelona’s main man up front, as he has been on innumerable occasions in the past. Messi would want to strategically place himself in the front three which would allow him just the right amount of space and time to dictate his own terms in the game. Messi was red-carded the last time these two sides met and he might just have some personal objectives to fulfil on the night.

Athletic Bilbao

Raul Garcia will be Athletic Bilbao’s go-to man upfront. The Spaniard has been in some scintillating form recently and even scored two goals to knock Real Madrid out of the Spanish Supercup. The instructions from Marcelino will be simple and clear, to get the ball to Raul Garcia, and let him do the damage with his presence of mind and alertness.

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