Thursday, December 5, 2019

Prediction: Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Club

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 31/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao are both sitting in the upper half of the Liga standings thus far. However, both teams must secure the three points there. The standings are extremely tight and, given how things are shaping up, both sides could sneak into the Top 4 with a positive result in this contest. This thrilling match between two of the most traditional Liga sides will kick-off at 20:00 hrs BST.

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid have not looked as dominant as they have been in past years, but Los Colchoneros remain alive on the race to move into the top of the standings. Los Colchoneros might sit in fifth place of the 2019-20 LaLiga standings with 16 points (W4, D4, L1), but have lost just once during the current term and are have not lost in any of their last five league matches. However, they are coming off three straight draws and have won jut once over that five-game span (W1, D4). They remain undefeated at home (W2, D3) but are also coming off three consecutive stalemates at Wanda Metropolitano. A win here could boost their chances to move into the Champions League qualification zone, but they would depend on what other teams could do if they want to get closer to the top of the league table. Winning here would be a must given how tight the standings are.

Team News

Diego Simeone will have to deal with several absentees ahead of this match. Jose Maria Gimenez (thigh), Joao Felix (leg), Stefan Savic (muscle) and Sime Vrsaljko (knee) have all been ruled out.

Meanwhile, Bruno Garces is doubtful with a knee problem. But the youngster is not expected to play.

Athletic Club

The Basque side kicked off their 2019-20 Liga season with a shocking 1-0 home win over FC Barcelona, and it seemed they were going to fight for a Europa League spot based on what they did in the opening contest against the reigning league champions. However, they have looked slightly inconsistent over the past few weeks. Their recent five-game form reads W1, D2, L2 and, to make things more complicated, they are currently riding a four-game winless run. Bilbao have not scored in two of those four games, although at the same time, they haven’t conceded more than once in any single game over that span, either. A win here could push Athletic to fourth place depending on other results. But most importantly, a positive result here would show Athletic remain able to go toe-to-toe with the top sides in the competition. Just like they did in the season opener against Los Blaugranas.

Team News

Gorka Guruzeta has been ruled out of this contest due to a knee problem.

Ibai (groin) and Yuri Berchiche (shoulder) are doubtful. However, neither is expected to play here.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Atletico Madrid are currently riding an eight-game undefeated streak in all competitions (W3, D5).
  • Athletic, on the other hand, have won just once over their last six league matches (W1, D3, L2).
  • Three of the last five H2H meetings have seen both teams scoring.
  • All five of those previous five matches have featured at least two goals scored. Three have had at least three.
  • Los Colchoneros have the edge on the recent five-game H2H record with four wins against one defeat.

Conclusion

Atletico Madrid have the edge against Athletic Bilbao in recent head-to-head matches. Both sides are good enough to top the other here.

At least on paper, the scales tip on Atletico’s favour. But it seems likely that both sides will score in this contest.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 31/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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