Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Prediction: Athletic Club vs Real Madrid

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

Athletic did well to revive their Champions League hopes by defeating bitter rivals Real Sociedad on the road, and they now aim to put a dent into Real Madrid’s title bid. Los Blancos further increased their lead at the top thanks to a controversial triumph over Real Betis, and they will have to show a serious improvement if they want to win at San Mames.

Athletic Club

Athletic Club appear to be paying the price for wanting to do well in all the competitions entered, which may be a very good approach in terms of respect for the game, but it often lands los Leones in trouble. Heading into the season finale, Ernesto Valverde’s side have been eliminated from both Copa del Rey and Europa League, while they sit four points behind European positions in La Liga and eight points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid. But, just as everybody began to write them off, los Leones recorded back to back wins over Malaga and high-flying Real Sociedad as if to show they are not prepared to give up without a fight. Following the impressive derby win over La Real, Athletic Club will need to prove their worth against the La Liga leaders on Saturday afternoon, which is not going to be an easy task. The hosts have reason for optimism though seeing as how they are unbeaten in last 19 home games (W16 D3), with Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Villarreal and Barcelona all losing at San Mames this season.

Team News

Talented goalkeeper Alex Ramiro is unavailable after being diagnosed with a brain trauma, while Sabin Merino is out injured as well.

Real Madrid

Having already scored amazing 10 goals this season, Sergio Ramos is quickly becoming a cult hero at Santiago Bernabeu, and his habit of bagging important goals is unmatched in world footballer when defenders are concerned. Los Blancos were in serious danger of seeing their two-goal advantage neutralised after being completely outclassed by Napoli at Stadio San Paolo, before Sergio Ramos stepped onto the stage, scored two bullet headers to secure progress to the next stage. The free-scoring centre-back again came to the rescue last weekend as he scored the winner in the La Liga clash with Real Betis, where Real Madrid were a goal down and probably should have had Keylor Navas sent off for a foul on Darko Brasanac. That proved incredibly important victory for Zinedine Zidane and his men, due to the fact that both Barcelona and Sevilla dropped points, leaving Real Madrid two points clear at the La Liga summit with a game in hand. But, los Blancos will clearly have to do better than in their last two games if they want to end Athletic’s amazing home run, and we should witness a great game of football at San Mames.

Team News

Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao have resumed full training, but Raphael Varane is out injured and Pepe is rated doubtful.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Athletic recorded 16 wins in last 19 home games (D3)
  • Los Leones won last five matches at San Mames
  • Both teams scored in last three meetings between the two teams
  • Real Madrid won four of last six games at San Mames (D1 L1)
  • Their last 14 meetings produced 55 goals in total

Conclusion

Athletic have seriously raised their game of late and buoyed by the 2-0 triumph over Real Sociedad, they will not be afraid to take the game to their more illustrious opponents. Los Blancos have not been too impressive of late, but they usually do well at San Mames and we do expect to see goals galore on Saturday afternoon.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

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