Athletic Bilbao and Barca scrap in Spanish Super Cup
Having emerged as victors in the UEFA Super Cup, after a breathtaking battle with Sevilla, Barcelona are back on Iberian soil to contest the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Bilbao.
The Basque Country club last took this trophy way back in 1984, so are outsiders at 11/2 with Coral to win over 90 minutes here, unless they can take advantage of Barca’s recent exhaustive excursions.
A draw on home turf at 16/5 may be more realistic, as the hosts forced the Catalan’s to split the spoils in three of their last seven tussles at the San Mames across all competitions. Yet, taking anything less than a victory to the Nou Camp for the return could prove costly.
Luis Enrique’s outfit did show deficiencies in defence able to be exploited last time out, but also managed to smash five goals past Sevilla, with three coming in a thrilling first half thumping.
So Barcelona are expectedly odds-on at 4/9 to triumph on their travels here, with their electric attackers 21/5 to rack up four or more after hitting 10 past their hosts in the past three encounters.
Lionel Messi bagged a brilliant brace last time these two met in the Copa del Rey final, and also struck a deadly double in the UEFA Super Cup, so back the inspirational Argentine at 3/1 to score two or more again.
Fellow forward Luis Suarez has also been in sublime form, so is 7/2 to strike first, while goal hero Pedro has not yet left for pastures new as rumoured, and is a fantastic 4/1 to net last once more.
Meanwhile, Andres Iniesta, subbed-off against Sevilla, should return to knit together the midfield, as his absence saw the Nou Camp club lose their grip last time out. In a hostile atmosphere with a fervent fan backing for Bilbao, Barcelona may not be able to risk fielding youth.
As for the Lions’ predators, targetman Aritz Aduriz could cause the Catalan’s shaky backline problems on current poor form, and is 13/5 to net anytime, while Basque-born fledgling forward Inaki Williams was the last to draw blood against Barca and is 4/1 in the same market.
Betting tip: back the ever majestic Messi @ 3/1 to net two or more yet again