Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona

BETTING & MATCH PREVIEW

On Friday night, reigning La Liga champions Barcelona kick-off their title defence with a visit to Athletic Bilbao’s San Mames.

Athletic eventually finished eighth-place last season after a slightly inconsistent finish to the end of the campaign. In fact, the Basque side finished last season by winning just once in final four league outings.

The home side’s league games towards the end of the campaign were low-scoring, as four of their final matches produced under 2.5 goals.

Athletic Bilbao’s home form is usually strong and they are currently 14 La Liga games unbeaten at San Mames. They also recorded four wins in their final five home matches in the league, scoring at least two goals in all four wins.

The home side has failed to bring in any fresh additions to their squad. However, a number of players have been promoted from the B team.

Barcelona once again ran away with the Spanish top-flight title last season. Ernesto Valverde’s side will be looking for a hat-trick of La Liga titles this time around.

The Catalan giants ended the season with just one defeat in their last 26 games in La Liga. Despite dominating the Spanish top-flight last season, Valverde’s side won just once in their last five away games, drawing three times in the process.

Their final away games of the season in La Liga were relatively low-scoring, with three of their last four games producing under 2.5 goals.

The Catalan giants have brought in Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo and Frenkie de Jong, which only makes Valverde’s team stronger.

TEAM NEWS

Athletic Bilbao have no reported injury problems. The visitors could be without back-up goalkeeper Neto, while Lionel Messi is also an injury doubt. Griezmann, Firpo and De Jong could all make their debuts.

Match Prediction

San Mames is not the easiest place to go for visiting teams. However, Barcelona should be able to record a victory, maybe in a low-scoring clash.

4/6 Odds

PREDICTION – AWAY WIN

Odds correct at time of publication – please check with your bookmaker before placing a bet as fluctuations can occur.