After 2 months of break, LaLiga Santander returned back with a bang. A set of highly entertaining and intense matches on Matchday 1 has set the tone for yet another thrilling season of football in Spain. Every progressing week we hope to see the action getting more and more exciting.
Why should you watch it?
As two of the La Liga contenders meet each other, there are plenty of reasons why you can’t afford to miss this game. Will the post-Messi Era continue with more positive results for Barcelona? Or Will the Fans at San Mames celebrate their return with a win for Los Leones? Will Ronald Koeman and his men record a Brace of wins? Or will Marcelino and the team get their 1st 3 pointers on the league table? Many questions will all be awaiting their answers this Sunday.
Aginst each other so far
Whenever these 2 sides meet entertainment is always guaranteed. Last season only, they faced each other 4 times and put on a show to watch out. The Catalans dominated the League fixtures with 2 wins in 2 matches. But, Athletic Club pulled a huge setback by winning the Spanish Super Cup and denying Ronald Koeman and his men Silverware. However, the Blaugranas responded well and avenged the Super Cup defeat by hammering Athletic Club 4-0 in the final of Copa Del Rey.
The Catalans started the post Messi Era with a bang Winning their 1st league game convincingly. The team looks promising and looks well prepared for tough challenges going forward in the campaign. With the new signings in Memphis, Garcia displayed a great show on their debut. Whereas, the old faces in Greizmann, Pique, etc looked motivated.
The Club will still miss the services of Ansu Fati and Marc Andre Ter Stegen who are expected to return after the international break in September. On the other hand, Dembélé and Aguero are out for long. Well, there is some good news as well, According to reports Phil Coutinho is back to full fitness and may get the medical green light for the game. The young Centre Back Oscar Mingueza trained with the group and may return to the squad for the game vs Athletic Club.
Key Players for Barcelona
The Dutch International shined on his debut for the Catalans. Memphis provided Pique with an assist leading to Barca’s opening goal of this La Liga season. Apart from the assist, Depay was a lively presence upfront. With Leo Messi Gone the responsibilities of taking set pieces fell on his shoulders and he did it damn well in the opening fixture. Ronald Koeman will be hoping for another stellar show from his countryman.
The Big Dane started the new season on fire. After having a great Euro with Denmark National Team, Braithwaite carried that momentum forward. With 2 goals and 1 assist Braithwaite dropped a MOTM performance in the season opener. With injuries and departure, Ronald Koeman lacks some firepower up front, and Braithwaite is in full mood to grab this opportunity and shine at Football Club Barcelona.
The Los Leones didn’t have an ideal start of the season as they drew 0-0 vs Elche away from home. Athletic Club will now try their best to bounce back against FC Barcelona in their 1st home game of the new season. The club from the city of Bilbao will also look to take revenge for the defeat they faced against Barcelona in the final of Copa Del Rey’s the previous season. The Lions will hope to send their fans home happy who will return to the stadium after a long time.
The Lions will again miss the services of Yuri Berchiche, Kenan Kodro, Alex Petxa, and Inigo Cordoba who are out with their respective injuries and aren’t expected to be available vs Barcelona. While the fitness of Ander Capa is still doubtful and we have to wait and see whether he will be available for selection or not. However, Marcelino will be delighted as experienced Spanish Midfielder Raul Garcia will return from suspension.
Key Players for Atletic Club in this Clash
Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain
The 27-year-old Spanish center-forward has been the main target man for The Lions. The Blaugranas are Familiar with his threat as it was Inaki’s late ET winner that snatched Super Cup from their hands. Inaki didn’t have his best game on against Elche and the result was Athletic failing to score. Marcelino will hope that Williams will find back of the net getting his team back on track.
The Athletic captain ran the show in midfield when these 2 sides met the previous season. The 28-year-old Midfielder controls the whole processing of Athletic attacks being that connecting link between defense and attack. Muniain is a vocal leader and he loves to get involved in the game as much as possible and push his opponents to their limits. Muniain is also a master when it comes to setpieces. The Lions will hope their Captain to lead from the front and help them get all 3 points.
As two of the very competitive sides battle each other at San Mames a goal feast is expected. Looking at the current form, We at Ball The Matters predict a 3-1 win in favor of the Catalans. However, You can never take Los Leones for Granted. Cancel all your late-night weekend plans, Grab your seats and get ready with your popcorn bucket as one hell of a match awaits you.
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