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Open Thread : 3 February 2022

The Thursday Edition of the Daily Merengue

Athletic de Bilbao v FC Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, Kung_Fu_Zizou, Ezek Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

Gameday: Copa Del Rey Quarterfinals!!

As expected, Benzema misses out as he hasn’t recovered from injury, so Jovic is expected to get the start. Another chance for the Serbian striker to show what he’s got. The Brazilians all made the squad as well after landing in Madrid last night though it will be interesting to see if Vini Jr. especially gets the start as he played 60 min for Brazil just yesterday.

Caro Ancelotti meanwhile was coy when asked about the left back conundrum.

Bilbao will surely be out for revenge.

In spite of their Super Cup disappointment in Saudi Arabia, Athletic Bilbao can undoubtedly look back on the first few weeks of 2021 with unbridled fondness, as Marcelino led his side to a thrilling Copa del Rey win over Barcelona just four days after their defeat to Real Madrid. The new year has seemingly led to a new wave of confidence in the San Mames outfit, who head into the quarter-final on the back of six wins from their last nine in all tournaments.

Totally unaffected by international call-ups due to their Basque policy, Athletic should enter the quarter-final with nearly a clean bill of health, although Unai Vencedor’s hamstring issue will likely render him unavailable.

Yeray Alvarez, Oihan Sancet and Oscar de Marcos should all be fine to take part, while Iker Muniain will also expect to feature in some capacity after recovering from a bout of coronavirus.

Whether the skipper is fit to start remains to be seen, but if not, 19-year-old Nico Williams will certainly push for a place in order to accompany his brother Inaki Williams once again.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:

Simon; De Marcos, Alvarez, Martinez, Balenziaga; Berenguer, D. Garcia, Zarraga, Muniain; I. Williams, R. Garcia

Make no mistake Los Blancos will be entering the lions den.

Former Barca President also weighs in on the Mbappe sweepstakes.

As does one of their current players.

Do I sense a bit of fear Gerard?