Barcelona return to action this Tuesday as they take on Athletic club in the round of 31 La Liga tie.
The defending champions would be looking to get their title defense back on track after their stalemate against Sevilla last time out.
The Catalan side who remain unbeaten in their last four games head into this tie as favorites but must be wary of their visitors who are also unbeaten in five La Liga games (W3, D2).
The visitors head into the tie with their hunt for European football still intact. Garatino’s boys currently sit on 42 points, five points below Villarreal in seventh place. Three points in this tie will do their season a world of good.
Quique Setien will be without Sergio Busquets for this tie after the midfielder picked up a fifth yellow card. Ousmane Dembele, Sergio Roberto, and Frankie de Jong are other injury absentees for this tie.
Gaizka Garitano will be without Yuri Berchiche, who misses out through suspension.
Head to Head
Athletic Club have been a kind of bogey team for Barca in recent times with their last four games resulting in two wins and two draws for the visitors. The last time Barca won against their Tuesday visitors was in 2018 with two first-half goals from Paco Alcacer and Lionel Messi sealing the win for Barca.
Athletico Bilbao last five games in all competitions: DWWWL
Athletico Bilbao last five games in all competitions: WDDWL
Barca head into this tie with seven wins from their last home games in the league. In fact, the last time they drop points at all in the league goes back to December in a stalemate against Atletico Madrid.
The Catalan side have scored 19 times in their last seven home games in all competitions, keeping five clean sheets and conceding only two goals.
At home this season, Barca remain the best side with 14 wins in 15 home games. They also top the charts for most home goals in the league this season.
53% of their home games this season have featured over 3.5 goals—the highest in the league. And they also top the charts for home games featuring over 4.5 goals in the league.
Atletic Club, however, are in the lower parts the charts for games featuring over 2.5 goals with just 40% of their away games ending with over 2.5 goals while 87% of their away games feature just over 0.5 goals.
This stat is brought about by their total league goals as Garitano’s boys have scored just 33 times in the league this season—just over 1.0 goals on average. However, their poor form in attack is compensated by an impressive backline that has conceded just 26 times—behind only the Madrid clubs.
However, their most recent away form makes them clear outsiders for this tie as they lost three of their last five away games in the league (D2, W1), although these losses came before the hiatus. The visitors will be hoping that their recent form against Barcelona will be recaptured as they travel to Nou Camp.
First half draw/Barca to win second half @ 18/5
Under 2.5 Goals @ 29/20
Barca to win @ 4/11