MX23RW : Sunday, May 22 21:09:05| >> :120:3898:3898:
[monks data]
Jan 20, 2022 at 8.30pm UK at San Mamés Barria
Athletic Bilbao
3 - 2
Barcelona
Muniain (2', 105+1' pen.), Martinez (86')
Garcia (30'), de Marcos (104'), Williams (119'), Muniain (120')
FT
(aet)
Torres (20'), Pedri (90+3')
Pique (76'), Pedri (97'), de Jong (104'), Alba (105')

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa del Rey clash between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona will lock horns in the Copa del Rey on Thursday evening, with a spot in the quarter-finals of the competition on offer at San Mames.

Both sides have recently been in Spanish Super Cup action, with Barcelona losing to Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the competition, before Athletic were beaten by Carlo Ancelotti's side in the final.


Match preview

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino on January 16, 2022© Reuters

Athletic had the chance to make it back-to-back Spanish Super Cups on Sunday, having beaten Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the competition on January 13, but they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the final.

The Basque outfit will now switch their attention to the Copa del Rey, booking their spot in the last-16 stage of the competition courtesy of a 2-0 win over Mancha Real towards the start of the month.

Athletic are the second-most successful side in the history of this competition, having lifted the trophy on 23 occasions, while they have also reached the final on a further 16 occasions, but their last success was back in 1984, overcoming Barcelona at Bernabeu.

Marcelino's side have won three of their last five matches in all competitions during an encouraging run, while a positive La Liga season to date has left them in ninth position in the table.

The Lions suffered a 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in last season's Copa del Rey final, but they held the Catalan side to a 1-1 draw when the teams locked horns in La Liga back in August.

Barcelona's Luuk de Jong celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 12, 2022© Reuters

Barcelona, as mentioned, lost 3-2 to Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup, with the defeat following a 1-1 draw with Granada in La Liga, which has left them sixth in the table.

The Catalan giants are the most successful side in Copa del Rey history, having won the trophy on 31 occasions, and the 2021-22 campaign could still be deemed a positive season for the club if they manage to retain the Copa del Rey, win the Europa League and secure a top-four finish in La Liga.

Xavi's side have only had to win one match to book their spot in the last-16 stage of this season's Copa del Rey, recording a 2-1 victory over Linares Deportivo on January 5.

Barcelona have shown plenty of positives since Xavi's arrival as head coach, and there are expected to be a number of changes at the club before the end of the January transfer window, with players set to leave and indeed arrive this winter.

Blaugrana will end January with a La Liga clash against Alaves on January 23 before welcoming the champions Atletico Madrid to Camp Nou towards the start of next month.

Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey form:
  • W

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Barcelona Copa del Rey form:
  • W

Barcelona form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L



Team News

FC Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti, December 18, 2021© Reuters

Athletic will again be missing Unai Nunez, Unai Vencedor and Asier Villalibre through injury for Thursday's Copa del Rey contest with the holders.

Head coach Marcelino is also expected to make a number of changes to his strongest side, with the likes of Julen Agirrezabala, Peru Nolaskoain and Nico Serrano potentially being given opportunities from the start.

Nico Williams scored twice against Mancha Real in the last round and should also earn another start, with Inaki Williams, Iker Muniain and Dani Garcia likely to be among the substitutes for the home side.

As for Barcelona, Samuel Umtiti, Eric Garcia and Sergi Roberto will miss the contest through injury, while Martin Braithwaite remains a fitness doubt for the away side despite being named in the squad.

Ansu Fati could be in line for a start, having returned from injury off the bench against Real Madrid, but Pedri is likely to feature among the substitutes once again.

Neto should be in line for a spot between the sticks, while Nico Gonzalez, Clement Lenglet and Oscar Mingueza could all be rotated into the side, but Memphis Depay might have to accept a spot on the bench once again, even with Luuk de Jong missing out through suspension.

Ousmane Dembele has been left out of the squad, meanwhile, with the Frenchman told to leave Camp Nou.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Agirrezabala; Alex, Vivian, Martinez, Lekue; N Williams, Nolaskoain, Vesga, Serrano; R Garcia, Berenguer

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Neto; Alves, Mingueza, Lenglet, Alba; Nico, Busquets, F de Jong; Torres, Jutgla, Fati


SM words green background

We say: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Barcelona

It is difficult to know exactly what to expect on Thursday, as both managers will make changes from their usual starting teams. Barcelona's squad is starting to look a lot stronger following their injury issues, though, and we fancy the Catalan giants to navigate their way to the quarter-finals of the competition.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona

Athletic Bilbao
17.2%
Draw
12.9%
Barcelona
69.9%
186
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Memphis Depay in action for the Netherlands in October 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CReal Madrid38268480314986
2Barcelona372110668363273
3Atletico MadridAtletico37208963422168
4Sevilla371716452302267
5Real Betis381981162402265
6Real Sociedad37171193935462
7Villarreal3715111161372456
8Athletic Bilbao371413104335855
9Valencia381115124853-548
10Osasuna381211153751-1447
11Celta Vigo381210164343046
12Rayo Vallecano38119183950-1142
13ElcheElche38119184052-1242
14Espanyol381012164053-1342
15Getafe38815153341-839
16CadizCadiz38815153551-1639
17Mallorca38109193663-2739
18Granada38814164461-1738
RLevante38811195176-2535
RAlavesAlaves3887233165-3431

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