Having just come away from a challenging clash with El Clasico rivals Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana Semifinal meeting on Wednesday night, Barcelona will need to quickly turn their attention to another cup game.
Wednesday will see the Blaugrana go up against Athletic Club Bilbao in the Copa del Rey Round of 16 match, although it would seem Xavi’s men are not fancied. Indeed, Betway Sportsbook has priced the hosts as 13/8 favourites to overcome the Spanish powerhouse and advance to the next round.
It must be said, though, that the odds are actually rather close together, with FC Barcelona only slight underdogs in this encounter, however that is exactly what they are as the two sides prepare to meet at San Mamés Barria Stadium.
The two teams met at the beginning of the season in a 1-1 draw that ended with Barcelona having Eric Garcia sent off in additional time.
Indeed, it has been a rather disappointing season for the Camp Nou outfit this season, with the club having had to deal with a number of problems on and away from the pitch, which has hardly helped them.
Many may have found it hard to predict that they would be suffering as much as they had despite having let Lionel Messi go in the summer, but things have perhaps been a little poorer than anyone would have expected.
FC Barcelona currently sits well off the pace from those at the top, with Blaugrana sitting in sixth in the La Liga table with 32 points. At this moment, the league title looks beyond them as the leaders – rivals Real Madrid – sit on 49 points; a difference of 17 points at the halfway stage.
Therefore, the Copa del Rey perhaps represents one of the best opportunities that Xavi and the club has available to them in order to help restore the incredible reputation that they have.
Of course, they are no longer involved in the UEFA Champions League either, although the UEFA Europa League could help them turn a poor campaign into a mediocre season by their standards.
Athletic Bilbao, though, will not be pushovers as they will perhaps have the same idea as the Catalans, as they will feel it is their best chance at silverware, as well.
The Basque-based outfit currently sit in ninth in the La Liga title with a total of 28 points, thus being rather similar to the visitors of this clash in regard to current standings.