Copa del Rey Betting Tips and Offers: Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona, Saturday 30th May 2015
Barcelona have a chance to secure the second trophy of a potential treble on Saturday when they take on Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Copa del Rey.
The omens are looking good for the Catalan giants. Not only have they won the most ever Copa del Rey trophies in the history of Spanish football with 26 victories but the final will be played at their home stadium, Camp Nou. Barcelona also beat Bilbao in both league games this season, winning 7-2 on aggregate.
Barcelona have been perhaps the most impressive team in Europe this season. New manager Luis Enrique didn’t join the club with the most impressive record and took some time to win his players over to his way of thinking. The Barca players and fans are used to playing their own brand of tiki-taka passing but Enrique wanted the side to play with a more direct, attacking emphasis. The midfield are less used to controlling the ball, waiting for space to reveal itself and more concerned with giving the ball to the danger men up front. The all South American front-three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have over 100 goals between them in all competitions this season.
In contrast, Athletic Bilbao finished seventh in the Liga scoring just 42 goals. Almost half of those goals were scored by one player, Aritz Aduriz. The 34-year-old is coming towards the end of his career but this season was one of his most impressive. Not only was he the team’s top goalscorer but he was one of their top performers. Aduriz took advantage of manager Ernesto Valverde’s hard work around set-pieces. Utilising training ground routines and crosses into the box may be the best route for Bilbao to try and take the game to Barcelona.
Barcelona are incredibly short odds to lift the trophy. Some firms go as short as 1/9 that Enrique will mastermind his second major domestic trophy on Saturday afternoon. If there were a market for which side will keep the ball more the price on Barca would be unbackable. Bilbao are not a possession-based side, they will rely more on retaining their shape, trying to keep Barcelona at bay while looking to hit their illustrious rivals on the break.
Valverde will though know that his team need to score to have any chance of winning. They cannot hope to hold out a team with the attacking talent of Barcelona for 90 minutes and extra-time. That could lead to an exciting spectacle and there should be plenty of goals for the neutrals to enjoy. Bilbao failed to score against any of the top six teams on their travels in the league but they scored in all but three games in front of their own fans. If Barcelona are able to treat the game as a home fixture, they should get the job done with relative ease. If Bilbao can get over the fact that they are playing Barcelona in the Camp Nou, they will have a much better chance of an upset.