Barcelona and Athletic Club preparing with key absences ahead of San Mames clash

Barcelona and Athletic Club will go head-to-head in Bilbao next weekend, but both Xavi Hernandez and Ernesto Valverde will be planning the match without two of their best tools.

After Ronald Araujo’s red card against Valencia, the Blaugrana must mend and make do in defence. He will miss the match, joining an injury list that currently includes Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski.

The likelihood is that Andreas Christensen will be partnered by Jules Kounde in central defence. That said, the Danish defender was feeling his hamstrings towards the end of the Valencia match. Eric Garcia could come in with the crucial El Clasico on the horizon the following week.

Meanwhile Athletic Club will also have to reconfigure. Oihan Sancet received a straight red for a rash challenge from behind on Abdul Mumin in stoppage time of their 0-0 draw with Rayo Vallecano.

He will be suspended, while full-back Inigo Lekue is likely to miss the match after coming off injured too, as per Marca. It means that Oscar de Marcos and Yuri Berchiche will likely occupy the full-back positions. Further ahead, both Inaki and Nico Williams will be in line to start, as will Iker Muniain. Whether Valverde elects to stack the midfield or add Alex Berenguer in out wide will likely show El Txingurri’s intentions for the match.

Those absences are added to the lack of Ander Herrera and Jon Morcillo, although both Unai Simon and Yeray Alvarez are expected to be back.

Tags Athletic Club Barcelona Inigo Lekue Oihan Sancet Ronald Araujo
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