The main attraction of the weekend features two classic names from La Liga. Athletic Club and FC Barcelona face each other tonight (8 PM local time, Canal + and Radio Barça) at a moment when both teams are experiencing a good spell of form.  Barça will be looking to secure their fifth consecutive away win – so far they've accumulated two each in the league and in Europe - while the Basques are enjoying a nine-match unbeaten run.

Tradition, tactics and the rain

This match has everything.  Tradition and a great atmosphere are always guaranteed when Barça visit "The Cathedral." The tactical duel, with Bielsa in charge for the first time against Barça, also looks promising.  The two managers have mutual respect for each other as was evident in their pre-match press conferences.  To all of this we have to add the rain which has been forecast for the time of the match, and which will add even more drama to a clash that marks a trend just ahead of the last international break of the year.

Starting line-up a mystery

One of the big unknowns is who exactly Guardiola will include in his starting line-up.  The manager has left Iniesta on the bench for the last three games while Xavi hasn't featured since the Granada match.  We'll have to wait and see whether he sticks with two men out wide, a role carried out by Cuenca and Adriano against Mallorca and Viktoria Pilsen, or instead goes back to the midfielders who give greater control of the game. Pedro and Afellay, both still injured, are the only absentees in a 20-man squad.

What seems absolutely certain is that Guardiola will take risks, attack and show courage.  He made this clear on Saturday: "You only win in San Mamés if you show courage." We can be sure that FC Barcelona will put out a team designed to take charge and create danger.

Athletic Club on form

In contrast to Guardiola, there's little doubt about Bielsa's starting line-up, given that the Argentine coach has relied on a fixed group all season.  Ekiza, Castillo, Gurpegui, Ocio and Igo Martinez are all unfit but most of them have played only a fringe role in a team that is in great form.  Since the 21st of September they've strung together a nine-match unbeaten run which has lifted them to ninth in the league table, a far cry from their position a few weeks ago when they found themselves in the bottom three after a poor start to the season.  It'll be a clash of titans.

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