Football

Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao: Three factors for the Spanish Super Cup

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Whether or not Barcelona have secured their fourth trophy of the six available to them in 2015 against Sevilla, Luis Enrique will ensure his team are ready to do battle against old adversaries Athletic Club de Bilbao.

The Spanish Super Cup is akin to the English Community Shield and as such, there might not always be too much importance attached to it.

However, if Enrique wants to leave a similar legacy to Pep Guardiola, and results in his debut season as manager suggests he will, then there's absolutely no doubt that this double header will be given the highest priority.

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Let's take a look at three things that could affect the outcome...

Law of averages

In the last nine years, Barcelona have met Athletic Club on a total of 25 occasions.

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During that time, Los Leones have only emerged victorious on a solitary occasion, and have been well beaten by Barca in a number of those fixtures.

Ernesto Valverde and his team will be in no doubt as to what will be needed to beat a team that are in most people's opinions the best in the world at present.

However, the law of averages dictates that such a run has to end soon. With players of the calibre of Inaki Williams and Aritz Arduriz ready to go to war to bring home silverware, why can't that run end now?

Barca need to be on their guard against complacency.

Messi - King of Finals

Although he failed to find the net against Juventus in Berlin, Lionel Messi has the most enviable of records when it comes to scoring in finals.

In the 24 that he has contested to date, he has scored in 20 of them.

Six of those have come against Athletic Club and he has been on target in all four finals played against the Basques.

It's no real secret that in stopping Messi, opposing teams are at an advantage, but actually diluting the influence of the Argentine has been beyond most opponents to this point.

Recent history against Basques

In the last 10 years, Barcelona have won this trophy on six occasions and been runner up once.

In the competition overall, there hasn't been a team as successful as the Blaugrana, who have won 11 Spanish Super Cup's in total and been runners up on another eight occasions.

Over two legs, especially with the second leg coming at Camp Nou, the Catalans are likely to be overwhelming favourites once again.

Athletic have only ever lifted the title once, in 1984 when a league and cup double meant they were automatically awarded the trophy as per the rules of the time.

History therefore awaits.

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Topics:
Football
La Liga
Athletic Bilbao
Lionel Messi
Barcelona

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