Watch the Live Match Stream for Athletic Bilbao Vs Barcelona via beIN CONNECT
Defending La Liga champions Barcelona head to the San Mamés to face Athletic Bilbao in a tricky away tie. Ernesto Valverde’s side is looking to win a third straight league crown but will face a stern test against a Bilbao side who have enjoyed a good preseason under Gaizka Garitano.
The Basque side just missed out on Europa League football last season on goal difference to Espanyol and will be looking to start the season on the front foot. The last time the two sides met in Bilbao, it ended in a 0-0 stalemate meaning that the hosts could potentially shock Barcelona.
Fresh from signing a bumper nine-year deal striker Iñaki Williams will be the dangerman for Los Leones. The Spanish U-21 forward grabbed 18 goals in all competitions last season and had been heavily linked with a deadline day move to Manchester United. Now with his long-term future secured Williams will be looking to fire Bilbao into European football this season.
Athletic Bilbao Predicted Team - Herrerin; de Marcos, Alvarez, Martinez, Berchiche; San Jose, D. Garcia; Muniain, R. Garcia, Ibai; Williams.
Channel – 11HD
Online – beIN CONNECT
Kick-Off – 22:00 (Mecca)
Ernesto Valverde returns to his old stomping ground on Friday evening, looking to inspire his side to a treble this season. Barcelona fell short in the Champions League, spectacularly losing to Liverpool in the semi-finals. Many fans wanted Valverde sacked from the side, especially after losing to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final, yet the Barca Hierarchy have stuck with their man and added plenty of quality in the summer.
The headline accusations of midfielder Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann underline just how serious the Catalans are in securing every possible trophy they compete in. Whilst there is still a chance that former striker Neymar could return to the club from PSG in a deal which could see Nelson Samedo and Phillipe Coutinho move to the French capital.
In team news, Lionel Messi is a serious doubt with a calf injury and substitute goalkeeper Neto whilst Coutinho is unlikely to feature ahead of a potential move away from the club. This could mean that both de Jong and Griezmann could be in line for league debuts.
Barcelona Predicted Team - ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; de Jong, Rakitic, Vidal; Dembele, Griezmann, Suarez.
It certainly promises to be a fascinating encounter as the La Liga season springs into life with Atletic Bilbao taking on Barcelona. You can follow all of the action via beIN CONNECT.