Copa del Rey Round of 16: Athletic Bilbao vs BarcelonaPublished January 5, 2017 by Sol FH
Bilbao takes on Barcelona in the first leg of their round of 16 matchup live at 20:15 GMT.
FC Barcelona are set to kick off the New Year in style with a key matchup in the Copa del Rey Round of 16 against Athletic Bilbao. The journey to the Basque Country is usually fit for a semi final or final match of the tournament, but lady luck has put these two teams against each other a bit earlier this year. The road to the final will be tough, and to think that either the Blaugrana or Athletic need to face another three teams en route in incredible.
In recent Spanish football history no team has ever defended the Copa del Rey in consecutive years. FC Barcelona obviously have the talent to do so this year and this is a huge goal for Luis Enrique. The first leg at San Mames will be a break from the pressure that La Liga has this year. Barca are still chasing Real so having a first leg away with the second leg at Camp Nou must relieve a bit of stress. Real could go up by six points after their next league match against Granada this Saturday night, but Barca are hot on their tails with a match against Villarreal on Sunday.
Barca will be taking a very strong side to Bilbao after the last leg against Hercules and his questionable rotations. Denis Suarez will not be joining, nor will Vidal or Jeremy Mathieu. Jasper Cillessen is still out due to injury so Jordi Masip should mind the net tonight.
Ernesto Valverde has a relatively healthy Athletic team to work with tonight, aside from a foot injury to Oscar de Marcos.
bet365 Sports Copa del Rey Markets
Barcelona are big outright favorites at 1.55, while Athletic roll in way behind at 5.50. This could be a great opportunity to bet on the draw at 4.20, but all odds are pointing to a Barcelona first leg win. A Correct Score wager on a 2-1 Barca win will net you odds at 8.00.