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Athletic Bilbao welcome Barcelona to the Basque region on Sunday evening in La Liga, with the match kicking off at 8:45pm local time. Barcelona will want to maintain their lead at the top, and take advantage of their two closest challengers facing each other the day before.

Home Team: Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao will have to bounce back from a disappointing derby defeat to Real Sociedad last weekend. A game that was important for pride, and not just points, Athletic Bilbao were underwhelming and convincingly beaten by their fiercest rivals. Despite that defeat, Athletic Bilbao will be proud with their performances in 2019, as they have picked up 10 points from a possible 15 – taking them from relegation zone to 12th place in a matter of a month.

Athletic Bilbao were knocked out in the Copa Del Rey during that time though, but on the bright side of that, they have a full week to prepare for this game unlike Barcelona who met Real Madrid in that competition on Wednesday night. Athletic Bilbao have only lost two games at home all season, including Real Sociedad back in October, and relegation battlers Villareal a few weeks prior to that. Athletic Bilbao will hope to maintain their impressive unbeaten run at home in the league against the mighty Barcelona.

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Away Team: Barcelona

We are now entering the business end of the season, and it comes to no-one’s surprise that Barcelona are in contention in all competitions and there is a slight chance of them winning the treble to emulate their 2008/2009 and 2014/2015 campaigns. In the Copa Del Rey, they have a semi-final second leg against Real Madrid to look forward to, and the Champions League returns in the coming weeks where they are paired with Lyon. In the domestic league though, Barcelona have been at the top of the pile for a few months, and suffered a setback by dropping two points at home to Valencia.

Lionel Messi was able to rescue his side then, but wasn’t fully fit for the clash against Real Madrid, and his presence was missed for an hour of that match. His replacement though, Malcom, scored Barcelona’s equaliser with a well-struck finish from a tight angle. Despite this, Lionel Messi should return for this fixture as they aim to get an important three points, and its likely they could extend their lead at the top to either 7 or 8 points if Atletico Madrid fail to beat Real Madrid.

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Head to Head

Barcelona have been the dominant side in this fixture over the years, but Athletic Bilbao have been able to rip-up the script on a few occasions. Barcelona have won four of the last five fixtures between the two sides. Athletic Bilbao have beaten Barcelona at home twice in the last 5 years, but they have come in Spanish Cup competitions. The last time Athletic Bilbao beat Barcelona in the league was back in the 2013/2014 season which turned out to be a disappointing campaign for Barcelona. Since then, Barcelona have won 5-2, 3-1, 1-0, 2-1 and 2-0 in five consecutive wins in the league. Barcelona are expected to win again, but in the reverse fixture this season, Athletic Bilbao surprised everyone by drawing 1-1 at the Nou Camp, and were only 5 minutes away from winning.

Predictions and Betting Tips

bet now betting on football Athletic Bilbao are at 7/2 to get a famous victory, with Barcelona strong favourites at 4/6. A draw is priced at 29/10. I expect a reaction from Athletic Bilbao, and they will test Barcelona in this match, but I anticipate Barcelona edging this match, with a 2-1 score line at 15/2. Adding Luis Suarez to that score line in a score cast increases the odds to 20/1. Lionel Messi got a brace last week, and he is at 2/1 to repeat that feat.

 I expect Athletic Bilbao to score a goal, but if you are bold, you can back them scoring 2+ goals at 21/10. Finally, Barcelona can sometimes make fixtures like this look easy, so backing them to score 3+ goals (15/8), win both halves (3/1) or to win by a 3 goal margin at 4/1 should also be considered.

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