FC Barcelona at Athletic Bilbao
Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 3:00 PM (San Mames)
Barcelona travel to the San Mames Stadium to face Athletic Bilbao on Thursday for the last of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals. The home side are the underdogs but will it be straightforward for Barcelona?
Bilbao cruised through the early stages of the tournament, beating Intercity 3-0 before thrashing Sestao 4-0 in the second round. However, Gaizka Garitano’s side have since stuttered against second-tier opponents. Bilbao needed a penalty shootout to get past Elche in the Round of 32 and required spot-kicks again after drawing 3-3 with Tenerife in the previous round. It’s been a tricky run in the Copa for Bilbao this season.
The Lions have also been struggling in the league recently. Bilbao have failed to win any of their previous seven La Liga games – drawing five and losing two – and have fallen to ninth in the table following their poor run. Despite their questionable recent form, Bilbao have been tough to break down this season and have scored a total of eleven goals in their previous seven games in all competitions.
Barcelona survived a scare in the Round of 32 against Segunda Division B side Ibiza. The Catalan giants went behind on 9 minutes but a late brace from Antoine Griezmann eventually swung the game in Barcelona’s favor. Griezmann got on the scoresheet again in the previous round as Barcelona hammered Leganes 5-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals.
New boss Quique Setien has endured a fairly inconsistent start to life at Barcelona. His reign began with a narrow victory over Granada but Barca then suffered a 2-0 defeat to Valencia. They returned to winnings ways last time out with victory over Levante, leaving them second in La Liga – three points behind Real Madrid. Still, Barcelona remain the highest scoring side in the top-flight by some distance.
Prediction and Pick
Barcelona are the favorites to win this matchup at 1.73, while the Athletic Bilbao win is at 4.50. However, I don’t believe picking a winner for this game is the best option, so it’s best to look elsewhere at some different markets. Both teams have struggled for consistency in recent weeks, so I’m backing both teams to score. This seems like the best bet given the respective goalscoring records of the two teams.