31st October 2010
Athletic Bilbao remained in the top part of the table despite the 4:3 defeat to Sevilla, and they now look to return to wining ways at their San Mames, the stadium that has become a real fortress over the years. After hammering Sporting Gijon last weekend at home, Getafe are hoping to improve their away form as well, although they remain the underdogs in this tie.
After several years of staring relegation in the face, Athletic Bilbao have established themselves as a real mid table team and their good showings this season are by no means a surprise. Joaquin Caparros’ men tend to pick up most of their points at the Cathedral, where their fans create a magnificent atmosphere and make the team give their best in every single match, so it is little wonder Athletic boast such a good home record. They did lose to Atletico Madrid and Barcelona there this season, but easily beat Mallorca and Zaragoza, proving any team outside the title contenders have nothing to hope for in Bilbao. Following the good showing in Seville, Joaquin Caparros’ side beat giant slayers Alcorcon in Copa del Rey and they now enter the Getafe game high on confidence. The hosts are missing Amorebieta and Ocio, while important midfielder, Javi Martinez, remains a doubt after pulling his muscle in the Alcorcon game.
Following a very successful La Liga campaign last term, Getafe made it to Europa League this season and, unaccustomed to the busy schedule, the team left a very poor impression at the start of new La Liga campaign. They showed some improvement lately, but that is only true for their performances at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, as el Geta continue to struggle on the travels. After losing three straight away games, Getafe could only muster a 1:1 draw away to fourth division side Portugalete, showing they are a completely different side when they leave Alfonso Perez. Taking all that into account, I just don’t see how they can stop Athletic from winning this game, especially as the match will be played at the notorious Cathedral. Boss Michel also faces a real selection headache with Jaime Gavilan, Nico Pareja, Mario Alvarez, Miguel Torres, Mane and Javier Casquero all on the sidelines.
If the match were to be played at neutral ground, there wouldn’t be too much separating the two sides, but seeing these are both genuine home sides, Athletic have got to be considered favourites here. The Basques seem to be in good enough form to defeat one of the worst travelers in La Liga and my advice is to back the hosts to win.
Verdict: Home win Athletic Bilbao (1)
Best Odds: 21/20