Messi in Line for Return at Bilbao
07 February 2019, 14:20
Messi in Line for Return at Bilbao
Jose Breton- Pics Action / Shutterstock.com

There are four games to look forward to in La Liga on Sunday with the pick of them coming in the late kick-off between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona.

Athletic Bilbao start the weekend sitting in 12th place on 26 points and such is the way of La Liga this season, that leaves them only 3 points clear of the relegation zone so a win would be massive. Barcelona are at top of the table and will remain there regardless of the other results ahead of this game.

Athletic Bilbao lost 2-1 at Real Sociedad last weekend in what was their first defeat in five games in all competitions.  In fact, their overall record recently has been good and Athletic Bilbao have lost only three of their last fourteen competitive games, which is a huge improvement on their earlier form this season.

Trends show Athletic Club have lost just one of their last eight La Liga games and come into this one undefeated at home in their last six.  There have been wins over Girona, Sevilla and Real Betis plus draws with Valencia, Getafe and Villarreal.

Defensively Athletic Bilbao have been good at home recently, keeping three clean sheets in their last four home matches but only once have they failed to score more than a single goal themselves in their last nine.

Under 2.5 goals have been scored in six of Athletic Bilbao’s last eight La Liga matches.

Barcelona travel to the San Mames Barria having been held to a 1-1 draw at home by Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. Having fallen a goal behind early on in the game, Barcelona came back to equalise but could not force a winner.

That result means Barcelona have won two of their last five matches in all competitions and that represents a bit of a slump for a team who had won ten of their previous twelve games.  The wins came at Girona in La Liga and at home to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey.

Trends show Barcelona have remained undefeated in their last ten La Liga games and have lost just seven of their last ninety-one games in all competitions which is a fantastic record.  Recent away results have seen four straight wins in the league including 4-0 and 5-0 victories.

Looking ahead to the team news and Athletic Bilbao are without Ander Capa who is suspended but he is the only player definitely unavailable for the hosts.

Barcelona also have a player suspended and Jordi Alaba will miss out.  Ousmane Dembele, Rafinha, Samuel Umtiti and Jasper Cillessen are injured but the big news is Lionel Messi should be fit to start the game.

Athletic Bilbao have improved a lot recently but this is a huge test against the league leaders.  Barcelona have Messi back in their ranks which makes a huge difference and they should come away with maximum points.

Predictions for La Liga

Home team - Away team Tip
flag_5 Es1
SD HuescaSD Eibar
23/04/2019 18:30
X
flag_5 Es1
Real ValladolidGirona FC
23/04/2019 19:30
X
flag_5 Es1
Deportivo AlavésFC Barcelona
23/04/2019 20:30
2
flag_5 Es1
Atlético MadridValencia CF
24/04/2019 18:30
1

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