Preview - Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao 29 September 18

Started by Harry85, Sep 29, 2018, 05:57 AM

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Match Day 7
Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao
Saturday, September 29th, 2018
23:15pm (GMT+8 Timing)
Stadium: Camp Nou

Last five matches form: W W W D L
Average goals per match: 2.83
Average goals against per match: 1.17
Top Scorer: Lionel Messi (5)

Athletic Bilbao:
Last five matches form: W D D D L
Average goals per match: 1.40
Average goals against per match: 1.80
Top Scorer: Muniain (2)

Crisis at Barcelona? That may be something of an overreaction but it's certainly not too often that Lionel Messi and co fail to win two La Liga games in a row. Next up it's this home clash against Athletic Bilbao as they bid to pick up a win and steady the ship.

It had all started so smoothly for Barcelona as they picked up four wins from their opening four fixtures. That run was ended with a home draw against Girona though, a result they followed up with an even more surprising defeat away to Leganés

In spite of those recent results Barcelona have still begun this season in significantly better form than Bilbao. Eduardo Berizzo's men do look an improved outfit compared to last season though, and have only lost one of their five games to date. However they head into this game on the back of their worst performance to date when slumping to a 3-0 defeat at home to Villarreal.

Both sides have close to a fully fit squad from which to select, with Bilbao's Íñigo Lekue being the only confirmed absentee.

Barcelona did the double over Bilbao last season, winning 2-0 both home and away.

Barcelona certainly haven't looked the irresistible force they did at times last season, appearing particularly vulnerable at the back. Athletic Bilbao have conceded two or more in three of their last four games though and if this turns into a shootout there's only going to be one winner.

Prediction: Barcelona 4 - 2 Athletic Bilbao


Half time: 0 - 1
Full time: 1 - 1
Shots:  14 - 5
Shots on target: 8 - 2
Corner Kicks: 4 - 3
Possession: 65% - 35%

Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets were booked for the home side in this one with referee Santiago Jaime Latre also taking the names of Yeray, Dani Garcia and Peru Nolaskoain of Bilbao.

Barcelona's subpar run of results in La Liga continues. That's three consecutive games without a win now. A run practically unheard of in recent times for the defending champions.

Inevitably well ahead in the possession, total shots and shots on target counts, Barca nevertheless had to settle for a draw in the end, and for a long time it looked as though it may have been even worse than that.

With Lionel Messi starting on the bench, Barcelona weren't quite at full strength here, but nevertheless made most of the early running. Luis Suarez having a great chance when played through the middle but only hitting the keepers legs.

Then in the 41st minute it was Bilbao who took the lead. Markel Susaeta initially shaping as though he may shoot 25 yards out on the left, but instead lofting a ball to find Oscar De Marcos arriving unmarked and in acres of space in the Barcelona area. Nice finish on the slide from De Marcos. 0-1 at the break.

Messi was introduced in the 55th minute in an effort to salvage matters, but it was Philippe Coutinho who struck the crossbar soon after, not long before Messi himself smashed one against the post.

It was left to another of the Barcelona substitutes to grab the equaliser in the 84th minute. Messi's initial shot blocked back out to him on the right allowing him to play a low ball straight back into the area for Munir El Haddadi to prod an effort past the keeper.

1-1 final score.

Barcelona stay top on goal difference as Real Madrid were held to a draw at home to Atletico Madrid. Sevilla are now just one point back in third. Bilbao sit 14th after this unexpected point on the road.

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