Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona are on course to seal the best start to a La Liga campaign in history if they can defeat Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

The Blaugrana’s 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in the Clasico remains the only blemish on their record, Tito Vilanova’s side having won all 12 of their other fixtures.

Even those within the club seem surprised by just how far ahead they are already.

“The gap to Madrid is unreal, it does not reflect at all the League,” said young midfielder Thiago Alcantara. “Maybe at the end we will have more, or fewer, we don’t know.”

These two had a compelling rivalry last season, Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa pitting their tactical wits against one another in La Liga and the Copa del Rey final, but it promises to be rather more one sided this year.

Athletic are still uncomfortably close to the bottom three but did get a boost with a 2-0 midweek in their rearranged Europa League clash with Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, even if it was a dead rubber.

“We never go to Camp Nou with anything other than the desire to pick up a positive result,” insists winger Iker Munain.

Kick off: Saturday December 1, 7.00 (BST)