Friday, April 20, 2018

Prediction: Real Madrid vs Athletic Club

Verdict: Home win & both teams to score

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

With Barcelona having all but clinched another La Liga trophy, all that’s left for Real Madrid is to try and pip Atletico Madrid and Valencia to the second place in the standings. Athletic Club, on the other hand, still have a chance of achieving a top table finish, but getting anything from this clash could prove a very difficult task.

Real Madrid

This season has proved to be quite disappointing for Real Madrid, who are not out of contention for both domestic trophies, but they can still save the campaign by lifting the Champions League title. Los Blancos eased off to the quarter-finals and appeared to have secured their place in the last four after the 3-0 win over Juventus in Turin, only for the Bianconeri to score three goals in the return leg and come on the verge of knocking them out.

Real Madrid eventually made it through after a controversial last-minute penalty, and they have since also defeated Malaga in La Liga thanks to goals from Isco and Casemiro. Sitting four points behind local rivals Atletico, los Blancos will give their best to leapfrog los Colchoneros in the remaining six fixtures and at least finish as La Liga runners up. The game against Athletic comes a week before the all-important UCL semi-final vs Bayern Munich, meaning that Zinedine Zidane will not be under pressure to rest any of his regular starters.

Team News

Luka Modric has trained with the squad after recovering from injury and he should start, but Nacho is unlikely to be risked.

Athletic Club

Just like their more illustrious opponents, Athletic Club have failed to impress this season, and they currently occupy 14th position in the La Liga standings. Boasting a 13-point advantage over the bottom three, los Leones are not exactly in a position to worry about top flight survival, but the record of just 9 wins in 32 league games is quite disappointing if we are honest. The good news is that Athletic sit just three points behind top table positions, and a couple of wins in the season finale could see them improve their league position.

Following the poor run of results, the club chiefs seem to have decided to sack head coach Jose Angel Ziganda and replace him with former Celta Vigo and Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo, who has successfully beaten cancer. In the meantime, los Leones will need to try and make amends for the disappointing home defeat to Deportivo La Coruna, and having defeated Villarreal on their previous La Liga travel, Athletic will have something to build on when they face mighty Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Team News

Yeray Alvarez returns from a muscle injury, but Ander Iturraspe and Unai Nunez are both unavailable through suspension.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Real Madrid conceded in 11 of last 12 home games (W6 D2 L4)
  • Los Blancos won five of last six home matches in La Liga (D1)
  • Athletic ended a four-match losing run on the road by beating Villarreal
  • Real Madrid won last 13 home games vs Athletic
  • Los Leones scored in eight of last nine visits at the Bernabeu

Conclusion

Real Madrid boast an excellent record in meeting with Athletic but it has to be noted that los Leones scored in eight of last nine matches at Santiago Bernabeu. We fully expect the trend to continue, hence home win & both teams to score looks a sensible bet here.

Verdict: Home win & both teams to score

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

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