Barcelona vs Athletic Club
|Date & Time||Sunday August 23, 2015, 12:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Athletic Club 6/1 Draw 4/1 Barcelona 1/2
sky sports; espn deportes
The first game of La liga for the Champions Barcelona is a tough fixture against an Athletic Club side that beat Barcelona comfortably in the Super Cup. Barcelona will want to make amends for the 4-0 loss they suffered at the San Mames Barria a week ago. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will carry the weight of expectation for Barcelona as the Champions look to get their campaign off to a positive start but this is a tough game and Atheltic Club showed last week that they can beat Barcelona all be it not a full strength Barcelona. Barca though will be without Matheiu, Pique through suspension and Jordi Alba is only back from injury and probabl wont start. Barcelona do have quality throughout though and the Champions will expect to produce a better performance.
Athletic Club came into the Super Cup with an axe to grind against a Barcelona team that they felt showboated through the final and Athletic got stuck in from the off in the Super Cup and basically worked Barcelona into submission. From the first kick Atheltic club chased, harried and harrassed Barcelona players and they got their rewards as Barcelona gave the ball away and Atheltic club took advantage of it. With a couple of Barcelona mistakes at the back Atheltic Club took advantage and Aduritz helped himself to a hat trick as they won the game 4-0. Can they repeat that in the league game? It will be interesting to see.
For sure this is a game that could go either way, Barcelona fans will argue that the team beaten in the Super Cup final was a second team but that team included 8 regular starters so I am not sure how that claim stands up to much scrutiny, the fact of the matter is Bilbao is a tough place to go at the best of times and this Barcelona team are coming here a little out of sorts. Messi has had a poor pre season and looks tired, he's been in two international finals in the last two summers and really doesnt get much of a break. Athletic Club were inspired in the Super Cup and I think the belief they garnered from that win can ensure they come away from this game with a result. Taking Athletic Club +1 is one of my bets of the weekend