Barca and Koeman Face Away Day Examination

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With all the uncertainty surrounding Barcelona at present all eyes will be on Ronald Koeman's side against Athletic Bilbao.

Ronald Koeman ready to for tough trip to San Memes.

It’s the second round of La Liga matches this weekend and we should get a better idea as to where the teams are and at this early stage of the campaign.

The big names all sealed opening weekend wins but can they back that up with success on Matchday Two, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla all on the road.

San Mames Could Reveal Barca Fragility

Following the departure of Lionel Messi, all eyes were on Barcelona last weekend to see how they would cope without their greatest player of all time.

They started with an impressive 4-2 home win over Real Sociedad, but now face arguably a much tougher task as they travel to face Athletic Bilbao.

Ronald Koeman’s men did claim a 2-3 win at the San Mames last term, but Barca had failed to win on their two previous La Liga visits to Bilbao and are 20/23 to claim the points on Saturday.

The hosts started their campaign with a 0-0 draw at Elche but they are normally a different prospect on home soil and Bilbao Double Chance can be backed at Evens.

Koeman is still without injured quartet Sergio Aguero, Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Ansu Fati and has hinted that he will give young star Pedri a rest, having featured at both Euro 2020 and the Olympics for Spain.

Champions Atletico Look to Home Comforts

Atletico Madrid lost just once in 19 La Liga home games last season en-route to the title and will be expected to claim another success on Sunday.

Elche are the visitors to the Wanda Metropolitano and have conceded three goals in each of their last three visits to Atletico – including a 3-1 defeat last season.

Luis Suarez scored twice in that win and having started on the bench last week, the Uruguayan is expected to start against Elche, with Suarez 11/5 to score first on Sunday.

Simeone’s men are renowned for the stubborn backline, with 12 to-nil wins last term and another in their first game of the 2021-22 campaign is available at 5/7.

Real Ready to Face In-Form Levante

Carlo Ancelotti would have been delighted to see his side make a statement in their opening match, as Real seek their 35th La Liga title.

Many felt the summer departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane would have a big impact on an evolving Real team, but they started the new season with a 1-4 win at Alaves.

Sunday’s trip to Levante is likely to be a sterner test though, with the Valencians winning 2-1 at Real back in January and losing just one of their last five league games.

Jose Luis Morales scored in that win in the capital and was also on the scoresheet in their draw at Cadiz on the opening weekend. The veteran midfielder is 23/10 to score at anytime on Sunday.

Real are still without the likes of Toni Kroos, Marcelo and Dani Ceballos due to injury, but many will expect them to be too strong for the host, with the visitors 20/31 to take the points.

Sevilla Look to Mount Challenge

After finishing fourth last season and with some of their rivals losing key players this summer, some people feel Sevilla could be in the title shake up this term.

The Andalusians started their campaign with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Rayo Vallecano, with new signing Erik Lamela bagging twice.

Julen Lopetegui’s men are on the road on Monday evening, when they travel to Getafe. Sevilla are 5/4 to win at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, while the hosts can be backed at 49/20.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Warren has been employed as a sport journalist for over two decades and as well as years of written experience, has also worked in other areas of the media including radio and television. Football has always been his number one passion, but has also commentated and written on a number of other sports including golf, cricket, tennis and rugby.

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