Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao – Preview – 3 April 2010

la-ligaBarcelona v Athletic Bilbao
Spanish La Liga
Estadio Camp Nou – Barcelona, Spain
3 April 2010 – 19:00 GMT

FC Barcelona looks to win their 5th straight La Liga match ahead of the two most important matches of the season next week.

Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao Preview

Barcelona still trail Real Madrid on goal difference in the La Liga table heading into the weekend. They are coming off a 2-2 draw in the Champions League against Arsenal in which they had several chances in the first half but couldn’t capitalize. The Gunners were able to expose their defense in the second half which is someone few teams have been able to do in La Liga.

Athletic Bilbao 2-2-1 in their last five league matches and in 6th place in the table. They are in the last Europa League spot and two points behind Mallorca for the last Champions League spot. Their away record is 4-4-7 with a -4 goal difference. Bilbao’s leading scorer is Fernando Llorente who scored two goals in last Saturday’s 4-3 win against Racing Santander.

For Barcelona, they are likely to rest a few players with two crucial matches coming up in the next week. They will face Arsenal in the second leg on Tuesday and Real Madrid next Saturday. While Athletic Bilbao is one of the better teams in La Liga, Barcelona can rest a few key players and still field a very strong team.

Lionel Messi and  Zlatan Ibrahimovic could sit out the match or play limited roles. Barcelona will not have to worry about Puyol of Pique who will miss the Arsenal match due to suspension. Athletic Bilbao will give Barcelona a decent test but the home side should still get the three point.

Even if Messi or Ibrahimovic doesn’t play the full match or at all, Barcelona will be favored to get the three points. A win would put them top of the table, at least temporarily, and put pressure on rivals Real Madrid. Bilbao could make it interesting and the scoreline could be closer than expected but Barcelona will get the win.

Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao Prediction

Barcelona will win the match 1-0.

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