FC Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao : Predicted lineups
After last week’s first leg in the Basque Country, Barcelona hold a thin 2-1 lead over Athletic Bilbao as the Blaugrana continue their defence of the Copa del Rey.
Luis Enrique’s guys are now typically well placed to make it comfortably into the last four of the contest although they will be without the aid of Luis Suarez who serves the second of the two match ban in the competition.
The Catalans come into the ground off the back of a far from convincing 2-1 victory at Malaga on Saturday with the opening 45 minutes on the Costa Del Sol undeniably one of their worst half performances in La Liga this season.
A draw undoubtedly would be good enough for Barca to advance, so too would a 1-0 defeat (because of away goals) and the result following the first leg will surely condition depending on how Athletic approach the game. The Basques require goals and they are really well placed to get them with Aritz Aduriz continuing to dominate up front.
The 34-year-old striker scored two brilliant goals at the weekend to take his goal count for this campaign to 25 in all sorts of competitions – only Ronaldo has scored more – and he will surely provide a constant threat.
In the league meeting between the two squads at the Camp Nou just over a week ago, Aduriz was suspended as Athletic saw their goalkeeper sent off after four minutes and duly lost 6-0 along with Luis Suarez grabbing a hat-trick.
Wednesday’s game should be an essentially closer affair, especially when considering how poorly Barcelona defended at Malaga.
Barcelona have although conceded first half goals to the likes of Espanyol, Eibar, Rayo Vallecano and even the lowly Villanovense in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey this season at the Camp Nou .