Injuries a problem as Barca prepares to face Athletic Bilbao

Madrid, Oct 21 (UNI) FC Barcelona has a host of injuries for its home game against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, meaning that summer arrival Inigo Martinez has a good chance of facing his former club.

Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Raphinha, Sergi Roberto, Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde are all injured for Xavi Hernandez’s side and certain to miss the clash in Montjuic.

Meanwhile, Ronald Araujo, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Ilkay Gundogan were only able to return to training on Friday after their returns from international duty. The three players look almost certain to play, with Araujo moving across to right back to cover for Roberto and Kounde.

That could open the door for Inigo Martinez to make just his second start since joining Barca on a free transfer from Athletic in the summer.

The central defender, who moved to Barcelona after running down his contract with the Basque club, arrived with a foot injury and missed the opening weeks of the campaign. His only start came away to Mallorca, where Barca committed errors in defense and he paid by being relegated to the bench.

Now the injuries have opened the door for Martinez’s return, with Marcos Alonso also having options of starting.

Athletic travels to Barcelona fifth in the table, with 17 points from their first nine games of the season. They have only lost to Real Madrid and Real Sociedad so far this season.

Their main threat will be the Williams brothers, Nico and Inaki, with Spain international Nico apparently close to extending his contract with Athletic.

The pace of the Williams brothers will be Athletic’s main threat, although they should also be boosted by Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta’s return from injury in midfield and the news that 20-year-old midfielder Unai Gomez on Friday signed a contract that will keep him at the club until 2028.

Leave a Reply