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Nine games stand between Barcelona winning their ninth La Liga and Copa del Rey double. Eight games remain in the league where they are just two points behind Atletico Madrid, who they’ll play in around three weeks time. They must first overcome Athletic Bilbao who are just one win away from their first-ever Double after beating Barcelona to win the Super Cup earlier this season.
Bilbao enjoy a rare record of having lost just three of their last eight matches against the Catalans. This will be a stern test for both sides here and while the market is siding heavily with Barcelona, we’ve gone deep into the stats and form to find the three Best Bets for what should be a very entertaining Copa del Rey final.
Saturday 20:30 – Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona (Spanish Cup final)
Premier Sports 1
Over their last seven matches in La Liga and the Copa, Barcelona have been leading at halftime in five of them. Looking at previous matches between the pair, Barcelona have been leading at halftime in two out of their last three meetings. Looking at their La Liga record this season we can see too that Barcelona have scored a very healthy 32 goals over their 30 La Liga games, winning the first half in just over half of them, drawing nine and losing just five.
Bilbao can be very slow to start. Over their five most recent matches they’ve only managed to score a single first-half goal while Barcelona have scored five over the same period. With those records, we should see Barcelona sticking to the trend and get at least one early goal against Bilbao and go into the halftime break ahead.
Bilbao haven’t been a high-scoring team in a good few seasons now. So far in La Liga this campaign they’ve only scored 39 over their 30 league matches. Barca and Real Madrid have 69 and 53 respectively and neither side could claim to have a vintage squad. It must be said too that while Bilbao have only managed to score a grand total of two goals over their last five matches they always put in a shift against Barcelona and have scored a total of six goals against the Catalans over their three most recent fixtures.
Couple this with a Barcelona defence that has conceded five over their five most recent matches in all competitions and the fact that over those eight matches mentioned earlier between the sides, Barcelona have only kept Bilbao scoreless on two occasions and we should see both getting on the scoresheet here. Barcelona though obviously have the experience and the firepower that should see them get over the line and lift what will be their 31st Copa del Rey title. Bilbao are no pushovers but facing a side that has won this trophy in five out of the last 10 years, Barcelona should be the ones celebrating when the full-time whistle is blown in Seville on Saturday night.
Lionel Messi and Antoine Greizmann are the favourites to get on the scoresheet here for Barcelona and with good reason. Messi has faced the Basque side 40 times and scored 27 goals and been on the winning side 27 times as well. Greizmann has 11 over his 24 matches against Bilbao over his career and justifiably both are getting most of the action on this market. However, we’ve gone with an outsider bet here because Barca always find playing against Inaki Williams so problematic.
He’s scored a very respectable five goals over his 18 appearances against the Catalans and over his last three games against them has scored in two of them, one of which won Bilbao the Super Cup final in Extra Time when the two clubs faced each other in January of this year.
Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona – Copa Del Rey tips
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