FC Barcelona will travel to San Mamés to face Athletic Club in the Copa Del Rey game on Thursday night. The visitors are coming into this game with a loss against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Even the hosts lost to Los Blancos in the final of the same competition at the weekend.
Athletic had the chance to make it back-to-back Spanish Super Cups on Sunday, but could not do so. They suffered a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the final. The Basque outfit will now turn their attention to the Copa Del Rey in order to take a place in the last 16 of the competition. Athletic are the second-most successful side in the history of this competition, having lifted the trophy on 23 occasions.
Marcelino’s side have won three of their last five matches in all competitions during an encouraging run. The team is currently ninth in the table. The Lions lost 4-0 in the Copa Del Rey game last season, and drew 1-1 at home in August against Barcelona.
It was a rather moral victory for FC Barcelona in El Clasico last week as the team completely outplayed Real Madrid. They lost the game 3-2 in Saudi Arabia. But Xavi has a lot of positives to take home from that game. Particularly, key players like Pedri, and Ansu Fati, are back with the new signing Ferran Torres in attack as well.
Ousmane Dembele is almost at the exit door as the debacle around his contract situation is the topic of the town. Abde will be starting in attack alongside Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres as the Frenchman will not be called for the game. The Catalan giants are the most successful side in Copa del Rey history, having won the trophy on 31 occasions.
The Blaugrana will end January with a La Liga clash against Alaves on January 23 before welcoming the champions Atletico Madrid to Camp Nou towards the start of next month.
Athletic will again be missing Unai Nunez, Unai Vencedor and Asier Villalibre through injury.
Julen Agirrezabala, Peru Nolaskoain and Nico Serrano will potentially start this game.
Samuel Umtiti, Eric Garcia and Sergi Roberto will miss the contest through injury while Martin Braithwaite remains a fitness doubt for the away side.
Memphis Depay trained alone, and is doubtful for the game as well.
Pedri will be joined by Gavi and Sergio Bousquets in the middle of the park. Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres will be in attack alongside Abde.
Ronald Araujo and Gerrard Pique will be in defense with Dani Alves and Alba as the wing backs.
Agirrezabala; Alex, Vivian, Martinez, Lekue; N Williams, Nolaskoain, Vesga, Serrano; R Garcia, Berenguer
Neto; Alves, Araujo, Pique, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Torres, Abde, Fati