|Óscar de Marcos #18||Frenkie de Jong #21|
|Raúl García #22||Marc-André ter Stegen #1|
|Iñaki Williams #9||Nélson Semedo #2|
|Ander Capa #21||Gerard Piqué #3|
|Yeray Álvarez #5||Clément Lenglet #15|
|Yuri Berchiche #17||Jordi Alba #18|
|Dani García #14||Luis Suárez #9|
|Iker Muniain #10||Sergi Roberto #20|
|Unai Núñez #3||Antoine Griezmann #17|
|Unai Simon #1||Carles Aleñá #19|
|Unai López #8||Ousmane Dembélé #11|
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona is an opening match of Spanish LaLiga 2019/2020 season, at Estadio San Mamés, in Bilbao. Barcelona confidently won last season’s Primera Division, overtaking nearest opponent Atletico Madrid by 11 points. They calmly played the last games in Spain as they already had a big advantage against the following opponents in Standings. At this time, Athletic Bilbao fought till the very last match to be among teams which will play in European Cups next season. However, failed to reach the 7th place because of the worst goal difference with Espanyol. Even winning the LaLiga, Barcelona’s season finished not so well as it could be. They lost against Liverpool in Champions League Semifinal in Anfield, after winning 3:0 at Camp Nou and failed to reach the Final.
During the last 2 seasons, Barcelona won 2 out of 4 games against Athletic Bilbao. Season 2017/18 were luckier as they won both at Camp Nou and Estadio San Mamés. However, last season Athletic Bilbao showed stronger character and have drawn both games against favorites. We hope to see here strong game from both teams, so read our thoughts about this match here below.
Athletic Bilbao finished last season at 8th place in LaLiga. They had a weaker goal difference with Espanyol’s, so they failed to take a chance in European Cups. In general, last season was successful for them if we comparing it with 2017/18, when they were on the verge of falling out to LaLiga 2. Most interesting, that Athletic Bilbao has never been relegated from first Spanish division since the 1928 year.
Of course, times with Ernesto Valverde were very great and they showed great football. However, Cuco Ziganda could not continue to show the same successful results as they had been undermined for several years. So the club decided to give the chance to Gaizka Garitano from Athletic Bilbao B squad. He made a really good job with the team, as they lost only once at home to Sevilla in Copa Del Rey since he appointed to this position. He is very well suited to the possible game of the team, the players respect him and play at a very high level.
In this offseason, the team has not acquired anyone. Athletic has a good academy and a school where talented guys train. In general, the club’s policy is to grow own players more often than buy. By the way, can you imagine, that Inaki Williams extended the contract with the team until 2028? 25 years old attacker should take the leaders position in the squad. Knowing what this team is capable of, we cannot doubt that this year will be even more successful for them.
Barcelona had an interesting season last year. They won the LaLiga, however, failed to be among Finalists in Champions League after losing the advantage of 3 goals against Liverpool. Of course, the club and Ernesto Valverde learned from their mistakes and made conclusions. In this off-season transfer window, they are well strengthened with new players. Catalonians brought long-waited Antoine Griezmann from Atletico for 120m € and Frenkie de Jong from Ajax (after a fantastic season) for 75m €. Also, Barcelona sold Malcom to Zenit Petersburg for 40m €, Jasper Cillissen to Valencia, Andre Gomes to Everton and Paco Alcacer to Dortmund Borussia. The rotation of the players in the team is both good and bad. Let’s see how the team will play at the beginning of the season.
For Ernesto Valverde, this game should be very tough, as he were the head coach of Athletic for 4 seasons. They know each other well with the opponents, so this should be interesting to watch what tactics they will choose. Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona should be a great test for Ernesto Valverde. Very likely, that Lionel Messi will miss the first game, due to a foot injury.
Article image is taken from bleacherreport.com