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Copa del Rey: Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona: Predicted lineup, injury news, head-to-head, telecast

Published at :January 22, 2024 at 4:37 PM
Modified at :January 22, 2024 at 4:37 PM
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Novojyoti Bhattacharjee


Ernesto Valverde will look to shock his former side to take Athletic Bilbao to the semifinal

A strong physical play and strong technical ability have made Athletic Bilbao one of the most difficult teams to beat for the opposition under Ernesto Valverde this season. The recent loss to Valencia ended their impressive streak of 14 unbeaten matches in the league. At the moment, they are fourth in the league and on an unbeaten home run of eleven matches. 

At the moment, Xavi faces a huge task as he attempts to turn around Barcelona’s season after losing the cup to Real Madrid and languishing third in the standings. It has been difficult for Xavi to perform at their best with a number of key players out injured. In the last two matches, they have defeated Unionistas and won a tie with Real Betis by a late comeback with Ferran Torres scoring a hattrick.

Kick-Off:

Thu, 25 January at 2:00 AM IST

Location- San Mamés

Form:

Athletic Bilbao (in all competitions): L-W-W-W-L

Barcelona (in all competitions): W-D-W-W-W

Player to Watch

Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao)

As one of Bilbao’s most important players this season, Nico Williams is known for his trickery and one-on-one duels. He has scored three goals for the team this season and provided five assists, making him a revelation. His vision and attacking prowess will be essential to creating chances in this match. He is a versatile player that can play on either flank.

Ferran Torres (Barcelona)

Despite initially struggling to establish a place in the side, Ferran Torres proved himself to be a valuable member of the team by challenging Xavi’s trust. After scoring seven goals and providing two assists for the team,in the last match he recently scored a hat trick against Real Betis. His directness and lethal finishing have made him an integral part of the team. 

Match Facts

  • Athletic Bilbao are unbeaten in the last eleven home matches
  • Barcelona defeated Real Betis 2-4 in the last match
  • Barcelona have won the previous four matches against Athletic Bilbao

Injury and Teams News

There are two injury concerns for Athletic Bilbao, with Dani Garcia out of the match due to a thigh injury and de Marcos doubtful due to a physical discomfort. Inaki Williams will be absent as he is on international duty with Ghana. 

This season, Xavi has been plagued by injury, with several key players out on the injury table with the likes of Martinez, Ter Stegen, Alonso, Raphinha, as well as a season-ending injury to Gavi. A positive development for Barcelona is Joao Cancelo is back on board and will be hoping to participate in this crucial match. 

Head to Head 

Total Matches-41

Athletic Bilbao-7

Barcelona-26

Draw-8

Predicted Lineup

Athletic Bilbao Predicted lineup (4-2-3-1):

Simon; Lekue, Vivian, Peredes, Berchiche; Herrera, Prados; Berenguer, Sancet, Williams; Guruzeta

Barcelona Predicted lineup (4-3-3):

Pena; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Pedri, de Jong, Gundogan; Yamal, Lewandowski, Torres

Match Prediction for Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona

As the team ranks third in La Liga and lost the cup to Real Madrid, Xavi faces mounting pressure to deliver Silverware. In order to beat Bilbao, Barcelona must do its best to overcome a physical side with technical brilliance. Due to their recent history, Xavi and co will be the favourites to win this tie. This will be a match decided by small margins as two of the top sides take on each other.

Prediction: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Barcelona

Telecast for Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona

India – FanCode

UK – ViaPlay, BT Sport

US –  ESPN+

Nigeria – No Telecast

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