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    Barcelona to start La Liga season with win

    15 August 2019 | La Liga | Preview
    2671
    Barcelona to start La Liga season with win
    Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

    Barcelona head into Friday night’s La Liga opener looking for redemption. The Blaugrana won La Liga last season, but their failures in the Champions League and Copa del Rey overshadowed that trophy.

    On Friday night, Barcelona will travel north to the Basque Country to play rivals Athletic Bilbao. The Lions finished eighth last season, narrowly missing out on Europa League qualification.

    Athletic Bilbao manager Gaizka Garitano should go into the first match of the season full of confidence. The Lions took two points from six last season against Barcelona as both matches ended in draws.

    Their first encounter at Camp Nou finished 1-1 after Athletic Bilbao took a 41st minute lead thanks to Oscar de Marcos. Barcelona levelled the score in the 84th minute through Munir El Haddadi.

    The first match between the teams saw Barcelona off colour. It wasn’t until Lionel Messi’s introduction in the 55th minute that Barcelona improved.

    Even with Messi in the starting XI for their second meeting of the season, Barcelona couldn’t defeat Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. Athletic Bilbao held on for a nil-nil draw as Barcelona laboured away from home.

    Barcelona are undefeated against Athletic Bilbao in their last six matches in all competitions. Four of those matches ended in Blaugrana wins.

    Reports in Spain indicate Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde will not start Messi on Friday night. In fact, the Argentina is unlikely to play in the match. Messi did not play during Barcelona’s preseason nor is his fitness match ready.

    There is no reason for Valverde to risk Messi because, as football fans have seen the last two seasons, Barcelona’s performances are dictated by Messi. The Argentine has been struggling with an injury and will be given time to recover before playing.

    Even without Messi, Barcelona have Luis Suarez and new signing Antoine Griezmann. One of the big questions is will Valverde give playing time to Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona attempt to offload him? The Neymar saga just won’t go away and it could end up overshadowing Barcelona’s season.

    Athletic Bilbao had a successful preseason going unbeaten in seven of eight friendlies. The Lions will have their hands full in the first match of the season and should struggle at home.

    Although last season saw two low-scoring matches, Friday’s fixture will feature two teams who want to lay down a marker for the new term. Expect over 2.5 goals scored as both teams get on the score sheet. Even without Messi, Barcelona will be too strong for their rivals as they pick up a win.

    Predictions for La Liga

    Home team - Away team Forebet
    flag_5 Es1
    CA OsasunaReal Betis
    20/09/2019 20:00
    1
    flag_5 Es1
    Villarreal CFReal Valladolid
    21/09/2019 12:00
    X
    flag_5 Es1
    Levante UDSD Eibar
    21/09/2019 15:00
    1
    flag_5 Es1
    Atlético MadridCelta de Vigo
    21/09/2019 17:30
    1

    Spain La Liga - predictions, tips, statistics

    Featured match

    Home team - Away team Forebet
    UCL
    Lyon
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    17/09/2019 17:55
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    OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
    1. Sevilla FC 10 4 3 1 0 5 1 4
    2. Atlético Madrid 9 4 3 0 1 5 4 1
    3. Real Madrid 8 4 2 2 0 9 6 3
    4. Athletic Bilbao 8 4 2 2 0 4 1 3
    5. FC Barcelona 7 4 2 1 1 12 7 5
    6. Granada CF 7 4 2 1 1 9 5 4
    7. Real Sociedad 7 4 2 1 1 4 3 1
    8. Levante UD 6 4 2 0 2 6 5 1
    9. CA Osasuna 6 4 1 3 0 4 3 1
    10. Villarreal CF 5 4 1 2 1 10 8 2
    11. Deportivo Alavés 5 4 1 2 1 2 2 0
    12. Real Valladolid 5 4 1 2 1 4 5 -1
    13. Valencia CF 4 4 1 1 2 5 7 -2
    14. Real Mallorca 4 4 1 1 2 2 4 -2
    15. Real Betis 4 4 1 1 2 6 9 -3
    16. RCD Espanyol 4 4 1 1 2 2 6 -4
    17. Celta de Vigo 4 4 1 1 2 3 6 -3
    18. Getafe CF 3 4 0 3 1 3 4 -1
    19. SD Eibar 1 4 0 1 3 4 7 -3
    20. CD Leganes 0 4 0 0 4 1 7 -6

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