Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona Team News
With a Champions League trip to Russian side Rubin Kazan looming next week.Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is unlikely to risk Lionel Messi against Bilbao .
Barcelona fans had feared the worst when the world’s best player was stretchered off during Barca’s 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the Vicente Calderon last weekend . However the Argentinian may well recover for the Catalans long trip midweek .
Barcelona have no other injury problems apart from Messi and will look to midweek scorer David Villa to lead the line again tonight . Villa is best price at 3/1 with Paddy Power to open the scoring tonight and the former Valencia marksman appears to be hitting top form judging by his recent displays .
With Messi out Pedro is likely to start for the Catalans and even youngsters Bojan Krkic or Jeffren could be brought into the game probably as sustitutes .
Bilbao have made an impressive start to the season and are coming off an impressive 3-0 victory over Mallorca . Bilbao have lost only once this season and are currently only two points behind Barcelona in La Liga . Coach
Joaquin Caparros has a full strengh squad other than striker Gaizka Toquero and believes that his side can beat Barcelona : “We have to be convinced that, if we do things well, we can get a result against the best team in Europe,” he said.
One player to watch for Bilbao is Spanish international striker Fernando Llorente Torres (not to be mistaken with Fernando Torres of Liverpool). Llorente has scored three of Bilbao’s seven league goals this season and is their main threat up front. He generally acts as lone striker and will take on Barcelona defenders in one-on-one situations.
Barcelona are a risky bet at odds on in the Basque country without Lionel Messi and with the fanatical home crowd behind them Bilbao are good value at 5/1 to win the game with Victor Chandler .
Chandler also offer top price of 7/2 in the draw no bet market which is a good alternative .
Should be a cracker . Live on Sky from 9pm .