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Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao Betting Tips

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    Athletic Bilbao

      Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao Predictions

       

      This is the third meeting between the sides in 11 days and 7th time the sides have met in the past 8 months so clearly they are familiar foes. Barcelona won the Copa Del Rey final between the pair back in May but Athletic were convincing 5-1 aggregate winners in the Super Cup at the start of this season.

      However Barcelona have won all 3 meetings since then including a 6-0 win when the sides met in the league at the Camp Nou earlier this month and a 2-1 victory in last week’s 1st leg in the Basque Country. Munir and Neymar scored early goals in that game to give the Catalans a firm advantage but a late strike by Aritz Aduriz, who now has 5 goals against Barca this season, has given Athletic a glimmer of hope.

      Barcelona were without both Luis Suarez and Leo Messi in the 1st Leg but both returned for the 2-1 win at Malaga at the weekend with Munir starting instead of Neymar and again finding himself on the scoresheet. Luis Enrique is likely to rotate his squad again here with a huge game in the league against 2nd placed Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

      They would really cement themselves in a strong position in the La Liga title race by winning that game so it will be the priority and Barca’s recent ability to grind out wins without key players or playing their absolute best football could come in handy here as they look to complete the job. The likes of Munir, Sergi Roberto as well as new signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal will all be contenders to start again here and we are unlikely to see any repeat of the 6-0 scoreline when these sides last met at the Camp Nou when Athletic had a man sent off in the opening minutes.

      Therefore odds of 13/10 for Barcelona to win and there to be under 3.5 goals look to appeal. Ernesto Valverde’s admirable determination to always put out strong teams no matter what the situation could ultimately come back to haunt him given the number of games they’ve already had to play.

      Athletic were impressive 5-2 winners against Eibar at the weekend and their overall form is good but it is hard to see them fighting their way back into this tie even if it is a slightly weakened Barcelona side they face.

      They should be able to make a game of it though and Barca may really take their foot off the pedal if they go in front with the Atleti game in mind so consider backing a repeat of the 1st leg scoreline and a 2-1 Barcelona win at 7/1.

       

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