By 90Min
September 28, 2018

After suffering a shock 2-1 defeat to Leganes on Wednesday, Barcelona return to action against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday and will be hoping to get back to winning ways.

Barcelona remain top of La Liga on goal difference, but will have been disappointed that they dropped points against a side in the bottom three. The reigning champions' form has dipped in La Liga after comfortably winning their opening four fixtures. Ernesto Valverde's side have now picked up just one point from their last two fixtures.

Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Athletic Bilbao, in contrast to their hosts, have enjoyed a positive start to the season. Despite being winless in their last four matches, Bilbao have secured valuable points against Real Madrid and Real Betis.

The Catalans beat Bilbao twice in La Liga last season with 2-0 victories at home and away. Lionel Messi and Paco Alcacer scored the decisive goals at the Nou Camp en route to being crowned champions.


Key Battle


Lionel Messi vs. Unai Simon

Barcelona may have been struggling to win in recent weeks but Messi's performances have still been consistent. The Argentine has looked threatening in every game he has played and demonstrated his lethal finishing once again against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.

The Argentinian has scored five goals in six league games this season and will be frustrated that he did not find the net in his side's defeat last time out.

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

With Messi desperate to score, 21-year-old goalkeeper Unai Simon will need to be on top form to keep the Ballon d'Or winner out. Simon impressed against Real Madrid as he made vital saves to ensure that his side gained a point against the Champions League winners. 

This is Simon's maiden season in the first team, and a trip to the Nou Camp is sure to test the youngster's resolve.


Team News

For the hosts, Clement Lenglet returns from suspension after being shown red for an elbow on Pere Pons during the draw against Girona. Samuel Umiti is reportedly set to be sidelined due to a knee injury. 

Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba were both rested for Barcelona's first defeat of the season but are likely to be restored to the first team against Bilbao.

Meanwhile, the visitors have no fresh injury concerns but will still be without full-back Inigo Lekue and goalkeeper Iago Herrerin.


Predicted Lineups

BarcelonaTer StegenRoberto, Lenglet, Pique, Alba; Arthur, Busquets, RakiticMessiSuarez, Coutinho.

Athletic Bilbao: Simon; de Marcos, Nunez, Martinez, Berchiche; Benat, Iturraspe; Capa, Garcia, Munian; Williams.


Prediction

Barcelona will want to start quickly after failing to win their last two La Liga matches against Girona and Leganes.

The supporters have been frustrated by their team's form, and a resounding win would help to convince fans that they can compete with Real Madrid this season.

Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Bilbao have scored in all but one of their fixtures this season and are likely to score again against a leaky Barcelona defence. Despite this, there's likely only one winner in this game. 

Prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Athletic Bilbao.

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)