Athletic Bilbao (13th, 26pts) vs FC Barcelona (1st, 50pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Saturday
Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 23
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Jordi Alba, Arthur, Samuel Umtiti, Jasper Cillessen, Rafinha, Jean-Clair Todibo, Sergi Samper (out), Lionel Messi (doubt)
Athletic Bilbao Outs & Doubts: Iñigo Lekue, Aritz Aduriz, Peru Nolaskoain, Ander Cap (out), Mikel Rico, Unai Simón (doubt)
Date/Time: Sunday, February 10, 2019, 8.45pm CET/WAT (Barceona & Nigeria), 7.45pm GMT (UK), 2.45pm ET, 11.45am PT (USA), 1.15am IST (India, Monday)
Venue: Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), Movistar Partidazo (Spain), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), others
Following a 1-1 draw in El Clásico in midweek, Barcelona turn their focus back to La Liga with what promises to be an extremely tough trip to Athletic Bilbao. Playing at San Mamés is never easy, and against a team on a great run of form (one loss in their last eight league games, and the loss was against archrivals Real Sociedad at Anoeta) this will be even more difficult.
Barça might also have to play this one without Lionel Messi, who traveled with the team but was clearly affected by his thigh injury in the Clásico that he might not even make the bench once the team news come out. Things point to an extremely difficult evening, but Barça have a golden opportunity here to really put their foot down in the title race.
Thanks to a very impressive Real Madrid win in the city Derby against Atlético Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, Barça can be clear by as much as eight points at the top of the table if they win at San Mamés. If they do, under so many difficult circumstances, with their biggest rivals now in second place, they’ll prove they’re more than ready to defend their title.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Miranda; Aleñá, Busquets, Vidal; Malcom, Suárez, Dembélé
Athletic (4-2-3-1): Herrerín; De Marcos, Yeray, Martínez, Yuri; Dani García, Beñat; Ibai Gómez, Raúl García, Muniain; Williams
If Lionel Messi doesn’t play, I’m hoping for a big night for Luis Suárez. And maybe Dembélé returns and doesn’t miss a beat: I’m going for 2-1 Barça in one of those games that may just cause you to die of a heart attack.