After two successive failures in the Spanish La Liga, Barcelona will be hosting Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou, hoping to return on winning ways before the Champions League encounter with Tottenham Hotspur.
The Blaugrana have started the season off on the right foot, wrapping up their first trophy by defeating Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup Final, after which they’ve secured four consecutive league triumphs, beating Alaves, Valladolid, Huesca, and Real Sociedad in the process. However, after a stunning 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, the Catalan giants have played out a 2-2 draw with Girona and lost 2-1 to CD Leganes on the road last weekend. Nevertheless, Ernesto Valverde’s side still top La Liga table thanks to a better goal scoring record than Real Madrid.
Los Leones, on the other hand, are in a severe crisis, considering they’ve failed to win in the previous four league matches, playing out three draws while suffering a 3-0 home defeat to Villarreal in the process. The Rojiblancos’ only victory this year dates back to the opening matchday, when they outplayed Leganes, clinching a 2-1 triumph. The inability of his backline to keep a clean sheet is Eduardo Berizzo’s chief problem, and it seems almost impossible for his team to end the negative trend this weekend in Catalonia, as the last time they managed to hold on Barcelona on the road was back in 2010.
In the home squad, Sergi Samper is still out due to injury, while Clement Lenglet won’t be available after picking up a straight red card against Girona. As for the visitors, Iago Herrerin, Lekue Martinez, and Aritz Aduriz have to remain on the sidelines due to various physical problems, while Markel Susaeta should return after serving a one-match ban.
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