Barcelona will be looking to reinstate their nine point lead in the La Liga title race when they travel to face Athletic Club on Sunday evening.
Real Madrid’s victory over Espanyol on Saturday cut the deficit to six points, but Xavi Hernandez’s like will aim to extend it once again at San Mames ahead of next Sunday’s blockbuster El Clasico fixture at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona will be boosted by the returns of Robert Lewandowski and Gavi, who missed last week’s victory over Valencia due to injury and suspension respectively. Sport and Marca have both starting in Bilbao, as Xavi Hernandez looks to return to his four midfielder system.
Both also have Marcos Alonso to replace the suspended Ronald Araujo, despite Xavi’s words of praise for Eric Garcia in the media on Saturday. The only contentious position is in midfield, with Sport opting for Franck Kessie, while Marca believe that Sergi Roberto will start.
Athletic Club will hope to end a four-match winless run when they take on Barcelona, with Ernesto Valverde facing his former side. However, he will be without key midfielder Oihan Sancet, who was sent off in the later stages of last weekend’s draw to Rayo Vallecano. Mikel Vesga is expected to be his replacement.
Barcelona will look to give themselves the perfect preparation for El Clasico next Sunday, but despite Athletic Club’s poor recent form, they are not to be underestimated, especially at San Mames.