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Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Spanish Primera Division preview – SportsUntapped.com
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Added September 24th, 2010 by Ian

Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Spanish Primera Division preview
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In the Spanish Primera Division, third-place Barcelona will hope to gain some ground on league-leading Real Madrid on Sept. 25 in their away match against seventh-place Athletic Bilbao. Barcelona has nine points, one behind Madrid, and Bilbao has seven.

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is trying to stir the pot early in the season after just four games by accusing teams of playing weakened sides against Barcelona, their biggest rivals. He pointed to Sporting Gijon who rested some of their best payers in Barcelona on Wednesday and lost the game 1-0. Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola refused to get involved though and simply said Barcelona respects all opponents.

It appears that Guardiola will keep injured Lionel Messi out of the lineup against Bilbao, especially with a Champions League game coming up next midweek against Rubin Kazan in Russia. Messi was stretchered off the pitch last weekend after injuring ankle ligaments from a challenge by Atletico Madrid’s Tomas Ujfalusi in Barcelona’s 2-1 triumph. Messi was lucky he didn’t break his ankle and he could be ready for action again soon.

Guardiola said Bilbao should provide a stern test, especially in front of their home fans. Barcelona has won three and lost one, with their loss an embarrassing one at home 2-0 to newly-promoted club Hercules. They didn’t really look too good this week either in their 1-0 win over sporting Gijon. Messi should be the only player missing as everybody else seems to be healthy and Guardiola should be able to choose from a full squad.

Athletic Bilbao has gotten off to a decent start after four games and jumped up to seventh place in after beating Real Mallorca 3-0 at home this midweek. Their only loss so far was to Atletico Madrid at home in their second game. Fernando Llorente is off to a good start as the striker has three goals.

Manager Joaquin Caparros thinks his team should give Barcelona a run for their money and doesn’t see why they can’t beat them. However, it depends who he plays as it’s likely he’ll continue to rotate his squad. They’ll probably be without striker Gaizka Toquero as he’s injured, but everyone else should be available.

Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Betting Odds and Predictions

While this should be a close game, it’s hard to bet against Barcelona and they’ll probably squeak this one out by a goal.

Sportsbook Bodog has the odds of a Barcelona win listed at 1/2, an Athletic Bilbao victory is posted at 5/1 and the odds of a draw are 3/1.

 
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