Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Preview Prediction
Last season’s fifth-place team Athletic Bilbao (0-1-0, 0 points) is scheduled to host back-to-back La Liga champions FC Barcelona (1-0-0, 3 points) at the San Mamés Stadium on Sunday, August 28 as the 2016-2017 La Liga season enters its second week of competitions.
Athletic Club failed to continue the momentum of their strong finish in 2015-2016 as the team lost its season-opening match versus last term’s lowly finisher Sporting de Gijon, 1-2, on the road at the Estadio El Molinón on Sunday, as per ESPN.
After a goalless first 45 minutes of play, the hosts scored two quick goals within the span of three minutes as Croatian forward Duje Cop and Spanish midfielder Victor Rodriguez netted one apiece at the 50th and 53rd minutes respectively, giving head coach Ernesto Valverde’s boys a huge mountain to climb for the rest of the match.
Los Leones was able to cut the lead in half with only four minutes left before full time as substitute striker Borja Viguera scored for the visitors. However, it was the closest Bilbao could come as time ran out on the San Mamés residents.
Meanwhile, Barcelona is off to their traditional high-scoring and winning ways after flattening last season’s newly-promoted side Real Betis, 6-2, at the Nou Camp last Saturday, SkySports reported.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi and 2015-2016’s European Golden Shoe awardee Luis Suárez led the squad with a brace and a hat trick while Neymar’s fill-in, Arda Turan, opened the scoring for the Blaugrana en route to their six-goal haul.
Turan is currently sharing left front starting duties with Munir El Haddadi until the Brazilian captain returns from his international duty. Neymar will be on his way back to Spain after a taking a quick break following his successful gold medal win with his national team in the recent Rio Summer Olympics men’s football tournament.
The Turkish winger scored Barça’s first goal at the sixth minute before Betis forward Ruben Castro equalized the count at the 21st. Messi took back the lead for the hosts at the 37th then Suárez added another one at the 42nd to make it a 3-1 count at the half.
After the restart, Suárez and Messi then scored a goal each one minute apart of each other to make it 5-1 before the Uruguayan completed his hat trick at the 82nd and Castro scored his second goal at the 84th to complete the final score.
The predicted result is a 3-1 rout by Barcelona.
Athletic Bilbao starting lineup (4-2-3-1 formation): Iraizoz; de Marcos, Boveda, Laporte, Balenziaga; San Jose, Benat; Williams, Garcia, del Moral; Aduriz
Barcelona starting lineup (4-3-3 formation): Bravo; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, D. Suárez; Messi, L. Suárez, Turan