Barcelona vs Athletic BilbaoLa Liga, KO: 20:00 Oct 22, 2023, Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys
Barcelona continue their pursuit of leaders Real Madrid as they welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys for a La Liga fixture on Sunday. Bilbao have looked solid so far but should be no match for the superior quality of the Catalans, who have dominated this fixture in recent times.
Despite playing second fiddle to Real Madrid at the moment, it has been a solid enough start to the season for Barcelona. Xavi’s men are only four points off the pace and are yet to taste defeat across all competitions so far.
Barcelona head into Sunday’s clash off the back of a 2-2 draw with Granada last time out in La Liga. They fought back from two goals down with young sensation Lamine Yamal pulling one back before the break while Sergi Roberto struck the equaliser two minutes from time.
While there have been a few annoying draws like that this season, Barcelona have maintained a 100% home record across all competitions this season. They have also looked solid at the back, keeping clean sheets in four of their last five matches in front of their fans.
Although they are not challenging with Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao can be pleased with their start to the season. They are hovering around the European places having suffered just two defeats in nine La Liga matches so far.
Athletic Bilbao were rampant prior to the international break as they picked up a 3-0 victory over Almeria in their previous La Liga fixture. Gorka Guruzeta opened the scoring early in the contest before second half efforts from Dani Garcia and Oihan Sancet sealed the comfortable win.
While things have been solid enough for Athletic Bilbao, they have been a bit erratic on their travels this season. Ernesto Valverde’s men are winless in two of their last three away matches and were beaten 3-0 by Real Sociedad in their previous fixture on the road.
How the bookies view it
Barcelona have been installed as overwhelming favourites among the bookies with a home win priced at 4/6 by Coral. An unlikely victory for Athletic Bilbao is valued at 9/2 by bet365 while a draw is set at odds of 3/1 by William Hill.
Head to head
Barcelona have a 49-33 advantage with 15 draws from 77 previous matches against Athletic Bilbao. The Catalans have also won the last three meetings and did the double over Bilbao last season, claiming a 4-0 victory at home.
Players to watch
Robert Lewandowski is rated doubtful for Saturday’s clash, so Ferran Torres will be the one to watch for Barcelona. The attacker has four goals across all competitions this season and is priced at 9/4 by BoyleSports to find the net on Sunday.
Barcelona are also solid at the back, especially in front of their fans having secured shutouts in four of their last five home matches. Andreas Christensen has been pivotal at the heart of the defence and can lead the Catalans to another clean sheet at 31/20 by Coral.
Anything else catch the eye?
Barcelona have won to nil in their last three matches against Athletic Bilbao and could be set for a similar outcome at 2/1 with BetVictor. Having won 4-0 in the last home meeting, a -1 handicap could also be considered at 17/10 with Paddy Power.
The Catalans have scored in both halves in the last two home meetings with Athletic Bilbao and Sunday’s clash could be set to follow a similar pattern at 6/4 with bet365.
This La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao will be played on Oct 22, 2023 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.