Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Predicition: Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao

Stefan Budur in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 24 Apr 2024

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Verdict: Both teams to score

 Best odds: 1.68

Bookmaker: ZetBet

Atletico Madrid welcomes Athletic Bilbao in what is seen as a top-four derby match between two multi-awarded teams of the Spanish top flight who aim to finish the season on a high.  The game will be played at Wanda Metropolitano where local supporters hope their favourites will overcome their recent Champions League setback.

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid have had a disappointing season with the prospect of missing out on a trophy by the end of this term. Diego Simeone’s team’s lack of consistency and difficult battles on many fronts pushed the team to 4th place in La Liga, seven points behind Girona. With seven rounds to go, the Champions League position battle is getting intense with none of Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao having to afford further slips.

The hosts suffered a major April setback at the European level against Dortmund. Despite taking the lead in the 1st leg, the Spanish side failed miserably in Germany by conceding four goals. Diego Simeone’s defensive set-up in the knockout games is well known. However, his players failed to adhere to his plan and capitulated under Dortmund’s pressure.

Atleti was dealt a devastating setback at Alaves in the Champions League qualification battle for the upcoming season. With numerous errors in the back and misfiring up front, the Mattress Makers put on a terrible display that allowed Alaves to win the game with a second goal in stoppage time (2-0 final score).

Even so, Barcelona is the only team to have secured three points on Atletico’s turf in La Liga. Furthermore, Diego Simeone’s team faces Bilbao in a replay after the former was eliminated from the Copa del Rey with a 0-1 win in Madrid. Atletico Madrid has to win to keep Bilbao at bay with a challenging schedule ahead of them and with Girona playing at full speed.

Team News

Thomas Lemmar is recovering from his last September Achilles tendon rupture and will most likely not feature for Atletico Madrid this season. Vitolo has the same faith as his teammate after suffering a terrible knee injury. Memphis Depay is also out with muscle problems, but the medical staff is optimistic the Dutch forward will return to action at the beginning of May.

Athletic Bilbao

One of Athletic Bilbao’s strongest seasons in recent memory is unfolding. Ernesto Valverde has made tremendous progress since taking over in the dugout. He took his team from a never-ending mid-table finish to winning the Copa del Rey and maintaining a strong chance of ending in the top four this time.

Athletic Bilbao hopes to place fourth and qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2014, having already purchased a ticket for the next season’s Europa League group stage. On the other hand, Bilbao’s recent La Liga outings left their supporters bitter after they had been thrilled with the team’s Copa del Rey performance.

Ernesto Valverde’s team looked fatigued in the last two games with no new players to relieve the already exhausted Bilbao squad. The visitors surprisingly gave up against Villarreal and Granada at home. The Basques settled for draws in both matches losing a great chance to surpass Atletico Madrid in the standings.

Athletic Bilbao needs to improve their away performance considering that 4 of their last 6 remaining La Liga games will be played on the road. A win against Atletico Madrid might keep the Champions League qualification hopes alive at the end of May when Ernesto Valverde’s team will conclude the season at Rayo Vallecano.

Team News

Oscar de Marcos, the veteran right-back, is the only unavailable from Bilbao’s team. Ernesto Valverde hopes his players will be more physically fit against Atletico Madrid, than in the recent two games. The Spanish manager is expected to set up a more defensive line-up to explore the spaces behind Diego Simeone’s back line.

Key factors to consider

  • Atletico Madrid is difficult to defeat at Wanda Metropolitano with an excellent La Liga record of 14 wins, one draw and one defeat
  • The hosts suffered a terrible blow at the European level being knocked out by Dortmund following an exciting double-header (5-4 on aggregate)
  • Athletic Bilbao won the Copa del Rey earlier in April but looks to finish 4th and play Champions League football next season
  • The visitors failed to win any of the last two La Liga rouns (D2)

Conclusion

Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao will be an all-out fight between two top La Liga sides engaged in a direct battle for a top 4 finish. Although mental and physical fatigue was high in both sides’ recent games, we expect a different scenario this time.

Verdict: Both teams to score

 Best odds: 1.68

Bookmaker: ZetBet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stefan Budur


Former owner of Betting Mojo, experienced bettor and former punter at Betadvisor, Stefan has done it all when it comes to soccer betting. With more than 15 years of experience in the gambling industry, he gained a lot of knowledge that he'd like to share with SoccerNews.com readers so you can position yourself better every time you place a bet.

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