Barcelona vs Ath Bilbao Semi-Finals LIVE Football Score 20 Jan 2022
About the match
Athletic Club is going head to head with Barcelona starting on 20 Jan 2022 at 20:30 UTC at San Mames stadium, Bilbao city, Spain. The match is a part of the Copa del Rey.
Barcelona will be looking to make it back-to-back wins at the start of their 2021-22 La Liga campaign when they travel to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday night.
Ronald Koeman’s side opened their season with a 4-2 win over Real Sociedad last weekend, while Athletic played out a goalless draw with Elche in their first fixture
Athletic won 11, drew 13 and lost 14 of their 38 league matches last season to finish in 10th position, some 15 points behind the top six, and it is difficult to imagine them closing that gap in 2021-22, with their Basque-only policy in terms of new signings restricting their summer activity.
It is essentially the same group of players that ended last season, but they have previous in terms of impressive finishes at this level, claiming fourth, seventh, fifth and seventh between 2014 and 2017.
Marcelino’s side travelled to Elche in their first match of the new season on Monday evening, and a relatively uneventful fixture finished goalless.
The Basque outfit, who have a number of injury issues, will now take on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in two of their next four fixtures, and the club’s supporters will be wary of starting the season poorly.
The Lions have lost their last three league matches with Barcelona, including a 3-2 defeat in the corresponding match last season, but they did beat the Catalan giants 1-0 on home soil in August 2019 and certainly have the players capable of making this a difficult assignment for the visitors
Barcelona won last season’s Copa del Rey, but they disappointed in the Champions League and finished third in La Liga, meaning that there is a lot of pressure on head coach Koeman to deliver during the 2021-22 season.
The dust has settled on Lionel Messi’s exit, and the Catalan giants are going in search of their 27th Spanish league title this season; seven points separated them from champions Atletico last term, and it will be fascinating to see whether the current squad has enough to launch a serious title challenge.
There were a lot of question marks ahead of Barcelona’s first league match of the season against Real Sociedad, but Koeman’s side managed to pick up an incredibly important three points.
Gerard Pique, Martin Braithwaite and Sergi Roberto were on the scoresheet in the 4-2 success at Camp Nou, and the club’s supporters will be demanding two more wins against Athletic Bilbao and Getafe ahead of a difficult clash away to Sevilla on September 11.
Barcelona’s form in the second half of last season was largely impressive, and a strong start to 2021-22 would certainly leave the fans dreaming of the title despite the issues that the club have faced this summer.
Athletic will again be without the services of Yuri Berchiche, Peru Nolaskoain, Kenan Kodro, Inigo Cordoba and Alex Petxa through injury, while Ander Capa remains a fitness doubt.
Marcelino’s squad will be boosted by the return of Raul Garcia from suspension, but it seems likely that the experienced Spaniard will start on then bench.
It would not be a surprise to see the same side take to the field for a second successive match, with Oihan Sancet joining Inaki Williams in the final third, and Alex Berenguer and Iker Muniain operating out wide.
As for Barcelona, Moussa Wague, Ansu Fati, Oscar Mingueza, Sergio Aguero, Ousmane Dembele and Marc-Andre ter Stegen remain unavailable for selection through injury.
The Catalan giants did not suffer any fresh concerns in their win over Real Sociedad last time out, though, so Koeman is likely to keep faith with the XI that impressed at Camp Nou.
Braithwaite scored twice against the Basque outfit and seems certain to feature alongside Memphis Depay and Antoine Griezmann in the final third.
Frenkie de Jong recovered from injury to operate in midfield alongside Pedri and Sergio Busquets, and the Netherlands international should again be in the XI on Saturday night.
Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Agirrezabala; De Marcos, Alvarez, Martinez, Balenziaga; Berenguer, D Garcia, Vencedor, Muniain; Sancet, Williams
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Neto; Dest, Pique, E Garcia, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, De Jong; Braithwaite, Memphis, Griezmann