Four days after booking their place in the quarter final of the Copa del Rey at the expense of Espanyol, Spanish champions FC Barcelona will take on Athletic de Bilbao in Matchday 20 of the 2015-16 La Liga season. 

FC Barcelona head into Sunday’s encounter against the Basques on the back of a 4-0 thrashing of bottom club Granada last week, riding on a majestic hattrick by Argentine sensation Lionel Messi. Victory against Bilbao will see the Catalans reclaim their spot at the top of the La Liga table provided Atletico Madrid slip up against Las Palmas in an earlier kick off on Sunday.

Athletic Bilbao will be boosted by their 4-2 aggregate victory over Villarreal in midweek which sent them into the quarter final of the Copa del Rey where they will take on Sunday’s opponents FC Barcelona. Ernesto Valverde’s men will be hoping to recover from their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Sevilla last weekend when they travel to the Camp Nou to take on a Barcelona side that has won 14 of their 15 home matches this season.

The home side have no fresh injury concerns ahead of their clash with the Basques on Sunday. In a major blow to Ernesto Valverde and Athletic Bilbao, star midfielder Raul Garcia injured his knee ligaments last weekend against Sevilla and is set to face an extended spell on the sidelines.

FC Barcelona

Probable starting lineup (4-3-3): Bravo; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Turan, Iniesta; Neymar, Suarez, Messi.
football formations

Athletic Bilbao

Probable starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Iraizoz; De Marcos, Gurpegi, Laporte, Balenziaga; Beñat, San José; Eraso, Susaeta, Muniain; Williams.
football formations

 

Key Facts

  • Barcelona have not conceded a single goal in the first half of their last nine league games; the last came back in October against Eibar.
  • Luis Enrique’s side have won more points than any other side in La Liga after conceding the first goal this season (9).
  • Barcelona have won their last 11 league games against Athletic at the Camp Nou, their longest winning streak in history.
  • Barcelona have kept seven clean sheets in their last nine league games.
  • Ernesto Valverde has won just two of his 15 La Liga games as a manager against Barcelona (D7 L6).

Prediction

FC Barcelona 3-1 Athletic Bilbao

FC Barcelona have scored in each of their last 17 league games at the Camp Nou with an average of 3.29 goals per game. The irrepressible trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar will be hard to keep out by an Athletic Bilbao defence that has conceded 22 goals so far this season — the second worse among the top 8 teams in the league. Athletic Bilbao’s barren run of form against the Catalans at the Camp Nou is set to continue this Sunday as an easy Barcelona win is on the cards.

Betting Odds (Ladbrokes)

FC Barcelona – 1.14

Draw – 8.50

Athletic Bilbao – 21.00

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