With Real Madrid recently dropping points against Sevilla, Barcelona has an opportunity to regain ground in the closely contested La Liga title race. Xavi’s squad, currently trailing by four points after a draw against Granada prior to the international break, can narrow the gap to just one point with a victory and some help.
Despite injury concerns affecting Barcelona’s squad depth, their defense is poised to play a crucial role in this matchup, especially considering Athletic Bilbao’s attacking struggles. Here are the key storylines and details for the upcoming match:
How to Watch and Betting Odds:
- Date: Sunday, Oct. 22
- Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, Barcelona, Spain
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: fubo (try for free)
- Betting Odds: Barcelona -155; Draw +285; Bilbao +410 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Barcelona: Injured players Robert Lewandowski and Pedri are in recovery, with their return expected in time for El Clasico on Oct. 28. However, the midfield remains thin, and Frenkie de Jong is uncertain due to an ankle injury. The responsibility to drive the attack forward continues to rest on Joao Felix’s shoulders, and it is unlikely to change in this match.
Athletic Club: Despite a recent 3-0 victory over Almeria, Bilbao’s struggles have primarily been against clubs in the bottom half of the table this season. They have scored ten goals and conceded two in such encounters. Conversely, facing top-half teams, they have scored four goals and allowed nine, which has proven insufficient. While playing an ailing Barcelona offers an opportunity to course-correct, their away performance does not instill much confidence.
Bilbao’s difficulties are expected to persist as Barcelona secures a much-needed victory to steady their ship. **Prediction:** Barcelona 2, Bilbao 0